Meet the lovely elf owl – the world’s tinniest owl

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When thinking about owls, the first thing that comes into mind are these massive creepy-looking birds, but beside they are just as adorable as hummingbirds, owls are also tiny. And there is particular owl species that can easily be mistaken for a tennis ball, because they aren’t bigger than that – the elf owl!


Just as its name suggests, the elf owl is very tiny (for an owl of course). Actually, it is the smallest owl on Earth. But you should never judge a book only by its cover, because even tinnier, this species of owl is just as an hard-hearted hunter as its more larger cousin – the great horned owl.

Bettina Arrigoni

Native to the Southwestern United States, some areas in Mexico and Baja California, the elf owl can grow up to 6 inches and it weight up to one and half ounce. Yet, they are still able to catch prey almost as large as they are, like mouses or lizards. Nevertheless, spiders, beetles and crickets are on top of their menu.

Tom Vezo

While in the States they prefer the comfortable sycamore trees for nesting, in the Mexican desert areas they can be found in the saguaro cactuses. The females lay up to four eggs in the spring and they hatch in 21 days. Both the father and the mother are taking care of the chicks.


In the fall – starting at the beginning of October – the elf owls migrate from the United Stated to Mexico, and they return at the of February – early of March, for the nesting season.


More about these lovely owls in the video below!

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