Are Owls Endangered?

owls-endangered Credit: Bill McMullen/Moment/Getty Images

Around one-third of owl species in the world are either endangered or at risk. Endangered species include the African bay owl, the burrowing owl, the long-whiskered owlet and the forrest spotted owlet.

The main reason for some owls being endangered is often habitat loss. For example, burrowing owls live in grasslands in the western part of North America. The conversion of grassland into agricultural land destroyed much of the burrowing owl’s habitat, leaving it with nowhere to live and not enough food to eat. Burrowing owls can now live in only small areas of prairie that exist to give grazing land to cattle. Burrowing owls also don’t dig their own holes in the ground for their nests, and instead have to use holes made by gophers, prairie dogs and other burrowing animals. These animals are pests to humans especially in farming areas, so many people immediately kill them. As a result, fewer of them exist to give the owls the nests they need. A similar process is happening to many other endangered owls as human influence causes low reproduction rates due to lack of room for nests, and high mortality rates because human pets like cats are killing them. The result is that many owls become endangered.