Photos of the World's Smallest (and Cutest) Owl


elf owls

(Image credit: NPS)

The greatest danger to the elf owls of North America is loss of habitat. Their population is abundant in the saguaro forest and riparian areas of the Sonoran Desert and the lower elevation (up to 6,000 feet, or 1,829 meters) of the pine forest-covered mountains of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. But as those riparian, desert and mountain forests disappear, so too does the elf owl. The expansion of agriculture and the use of pesticides across these warm climate regions have also destroyed critical elf owl habitat and poisoned their insect food source.

Adorable animals

elf owls

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Cute is certainly not a good scientific term to use, but it is certainly a term that would apply to the elf owls of North America. Their diminutive size, big yellow eyes and earless rounded heads make for one delightful creature of nature. These little owls would much rather hide and never be seen; but when they are seen, most viewers are surprised that an owl can be so small and so adorable. Elf owls have over a dozen vocal calls, many of which can be heard.

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