Athene cunicularia floridana - (Ridgway, 1874)
Florida Burrowing Owl
Other English Common Names: Florida burrowing owl
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Athene cunicularia floridana (Ridgway, 1874) (TSN 687089)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102493
Element Code: ABNSB10011
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Strigiformes Strigidae Athene
Genus Size: A - Monotypic genus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1957. The A.O.U. Check-list of North American Birds, 5th ed. Port City Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD. 691 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B57AOU01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Athene cunicularia floridana
Taxonomic Comments: Placed in genus Athene by AOU (1997). Other subspecies occur in western North America, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. See also taxonomic comments for A. cunicularia.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4T3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 13Mar2007
Global Status Last Changed: 27Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: T3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Occurs in a habitat that has mostly been converted for agriculture and development; subsequently, natural EOs have been reduced. Urban/ruderal occurrences are not safe from increasing development pressures.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3 (05Jan1997)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Florida (S3)

Other Statuses

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix II

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 250-20,000 square km (about 100-8000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Resident in Florida and the Bahamas (Grand Bahama to Great Inagua (AOU 1957)). In Florida residence is mostly in the southcentral, with disjunct populations in the northeast, southeast, and the Florida Keys. May wander to Alabama and Cuba.

Number of Occurrences: 21 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Natural EOs significantly reduced by habitat destruction; largely replaced by ruderal EOs that are likely to be temporary.

Population Size Comments: Population estimates not available.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Habitat destruction (agriculture and development) is the major threat. Also threatened by disturbance and predation by cats and dogs. Cattle and machinery can collapse burrows. Main causes of nest failure at a study site in Lee County, Florida, were home construction, harassment by humans (generally children), and flooding (Millsap and Bear 2000).

Nesting owls attract dung beetles (a major food) by placing dung around nest burrows (Levey et al. 2004). Dung beetles may be adversely affected by worming agents and possibly other toxins used on cattle.

Short-term Trend Comments: Possibly increasing in some regions, decreasing in others. Christmas Bird Count data indicate an increase in Florida, 1954-1986 (James and Ethier 1989).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Survey to determine population trends, extent and distribution of element occurrences, especially those in natural habitat.

Protection Needs: Natural areas with element occurrences should be preserved with buffers. Development plans in urban areas should take element occurrences into account.

Distribution
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Global Range: (250-20,000 square km (about 100-8000 square miles)) Resident in Florida and the Bahamas (Grand Bahama to Great Inagua (AOU 1957)). In Florida residence is mostly in the southcentral, with disjunct populations in the northeast, southeast, and the Florida Keys. May wander to Alabama and Cuba.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.

Map unavailable!:
Distribution data for U.S. states and Canadian provinces is known to be incomplete or has not been reviewed for this taxon.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Alachua (12001), Brevard (12009), Broward (12011), Charlotte (12015), Citrus (12017), Collier (12021), Duval (12031)*, Gilchrist (12041), Glades (12043), Hernando (12053), Highlands (12055), Indian River (12061), Lafayette (12067), Lake (12069), Lee (12071), Levy (12075), Madison (12079), Manatee (12081), Marion (12083), Miami-Dade (12086), Monroe (12087), Okaloosa (12091), Okeechobee (12093), Orange (12095), Osceola (12097), Palm Beach (12099), Pasco (12101), Polk (12105), St. Lucie (12111), Sumter (12119), Suwannee (12121), Walton (12131)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper St. Johns (03080101)+, Oklawaha (03080102)+, Lower St. Johns (03080103)+*, Vero Beach (03080203)+, Kissimmee (03090101)+, Northern Okeechobee Inflow (03090102)+, Western Okeechobee Inflow (03090103)+, Lake Okeechobee (03090201)+, Everglades (03090202)+, Florida Bay-Florida Keys (03090203)+, Big Cypress Swamp (03090204)+, Caloosahatchee (03090205)+, Florida Southeast Coast (03090206)+, Peace (03100101)+, Myakka (03100102)+, Charlotte Harbor (03100103)+, Sarasota Bay (03100201)+, Manatee (03100202)+, Hillsborough (03100205)+, Crystal-Pithlachascotee (03100207)+, Withlacoochee (03100208)+, Waccasassa (03110101)+, withlacoochee (03110203)+, Lower Suwannee (03110205)+, Santa Fe (03110206)+, Choctawhatchee Bay (03140102)+, Yellow (03140103)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Florida burrowing owl, Strigidae.
General Description: A small, ground-dwelling owl with long legs, white chin stripe, round head, and stubby tail; adults are boldly spotted and barred with brown and white; juveniles are plain brown above (or at least much less spotted than are adults), buffy below with indistinct brown barring (Ridgway 1914, NGS 1983).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from other subspecies in having upperparts darker and much less buffy brown, with the spotting dull white instead of more or less buffy; ground color of underparts much less buffy (dull white, buffy only on thighs and underwing coverts); wing and tail averaging much shorter than in subspecies HYPOGAEA of western and central North America (Ridgway 1914).
Reproduction Comments: Double-brooding has been documented (Millsap and Bear 1990).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Grassland/herbaceous, Sand/dune
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil
Habitat Comments: High, sparsely vegetated sandy ground; e.g., dry prairies, sandhills, pastures, airport runways, golf courses, ruderal areas. Nests usually in burrows. See Cavanagh (1990) for an account of unsuccessful above-ground nesting on a lawn at an airport.
Food Comments: Dung beetles may be a major food resource during the nesting season (Levey et al. 2004).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: At a partially developed site in Lee County, Florida, mean occupied nest site density was highest when 45-60% of lots were developed (Millsap and Bear 2000). Use of a 10+ meter buffer around nest sites during home construction resulted in a significantly higher mean nest productivity (mean 1.9 young per nest) that at sites with no buffer (mean 0.1 young per nest; Millsap and Bear 2000).
Management Requirements: Management actions suggested by Millsap and Bear (2000) include: (1) implementation of educational programs to reduce human harassment of owls in urban settings; (2) use buffer zones of at least 10 meters around nest sites in areas where construction occurs during breeding season; and (3) maintain burrows at home sites with sodded yards (though these sites may need to be supplemented with higher quality habitat).
Biological Research Needs: Use of tortoise burrows (active to old); use of owl burrows by other species.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 13Mar2007
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jackson, D. R.; minor revisions by G. Hammerson and D.W. Mehlman
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 06Apr1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1957. The A.O.U. Check-list of North American Birds, 5th ed. Port City Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD. 691 pp.

  • Cavanagh, P. M. 1990. Above-ground nesting by burrowing owls. J. Raptor Res. 24:68-69.

  • James, P. C. and T. J. Ethier. 1989. Trends in the winter distribution and abundance of burrowing owls in North America. Am. Birds 43:1224-1225.

  • Levey, D. J., R. S. Duncan, and C. F. Levins. 2004. Use of dung as a tool by burrowing owls. Nature 431:39.

  • Millsap, B. A., and C. Bear. 1990. Double-brooding by Florida burrowing owls. Wilson Bull. 102:313-317.

  • Millsap, B.A., and C. Bear. 2000. Density and reproduction of Burrowing Owls along an urban development gradient. Journal of Wildlife Management 64(1):33-41.

  • National Geographic Society (NGS). 1983. Field guide to the birds of North America. National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.

  • Ridgway, R. 1914. The birds of North and Middle America. Part VI. U.S. National Museum Bull. 50.

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