If an elf owl is captured, it plays dead while waiting for the danger to pass. Elf owls are the smallest owl species and only reach a height of about 5 inches.
Unlike most owls, the elf owl does not hoot but instead makes a high-pitched "whi-whi-whi" sound. Elf owls are migratory and spend the winter months from central to south Mexico. Elf owls have the highest rate of breeding success among owls, achieving a birth rate of 70 percent.
The elf owl was first reported on in 1861 by James Graham Cooper. Other names for the elf owl are Texas elf owl, Whitney's elf owl and dwarf owl.