Tengmalm's owl

(Aegolius funereus)


Tengmalm's owl IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The Tengmalm's owl is a small owl species with a total length of about 25 cm and a body-weight of a bout 100-200 g. The head is broad and the forehead flat. The facial disc is oval, whitish in colour, surrounded by a dark rim with small white spots. There is a small dark portion between the eyes and the base of the bill. Eyes are pale to bright yellow, and the bill is yellowish horn.

The colour of the plumage varies widely between individuals. Some are more reddish-brown, while others are more greyish.Upper parts are dark brown with bold white spotting. Underparts are off-white, with broad streaks of darkish brown, denser on the breast and trailing off at the lower belly. The tail is short and brown, with 4-5 white cross-bars. The legs and feet are thickly covered with white feathers, hence the German name "Rauhfusskauz". The claws are darkish horn to blackish brown, and have very sharp black tips.

The Tengmalm's owl is almost exclusively nocturnal. It breeds in tree cavities often taken over from black woodpeckers. In April, the female lays 4-7 eggs, which incubates for 4 weeks. The male participates in the rearing of the young, which leave the nest after 4-5 weeks, but still need to be fed by the parents.

Did you know?
that Temgmalm's owls hunt primarily small mammals, only rarely take birds, never hunt reptiles and amphibians, and only occasionally eat insects? The most common prey are different species of mice and voles, including - in Central Europe - ruddy vole, snow vole, common vole and field vole, yellow-necked field mouse and wood mouse.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Aegolius funereus
Name (English) Tengmalm's owl
Name (French) Chouette de Tengmalm
Name (German) Rauhfusskauz
Name (Spanish) Lechuza de Tangmalm
Local names Czech: Sýc rousný
Dutch: Ruigpootuil
Estonian: Karvasjalg-kakk, Llaanekakk
Finnish: Helmipöllö
Italian: Civetta capogrosso
Nowegian: Perleugle
Polish: Wlochatka
Portuguese: Mocho de Tengmalm
Romansh: Tschuetta pailusa
Swedish: Pärluggla
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
R. Parriger



Range Eurasia and North America: Asia: India; Japan; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Tajikistan. Europe: Albania; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Mongolia; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine; vagarnts also in Luxemburg and the nited Kingdom. North America: Canada; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; United States.
Habitat Boreal forests.
Wild population Approx. 1.700.00 (Partners in flight 2008)

In the Zoo

Tengmalm's owl


How this animal should be transported

Owls travel best in completely dark boxes. Boxes should be slightly longer than the head to tail length of the bird intended to travel, and wide and high enough for the bird to be able to stand or lie down in comfort without banging its shoulders or head. A well made wooden box with no perches is required, with carpet or some other non slip surface fixed on the floor and a padded ceiling, with air-holes on either side. The easiest type of door to use is an upward sliding door at one end. The door can then be slid up a small amount; the bird visualised before being grasped by the legs, carefully, through the small opening before sliding the door fully open for removal. A handle fixed to the top of the box makes carrying easier.

For air transport, Container Note 20 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
R. Parriger

Why do zoos keep this animal

Tengmalm's owls are globally not threatened, and zoos keep them primarily for educational reasons. As they are little birds, they hunt mammals up to the size of garden dormice and birds up to the size of thrushes, i.e. they can easily be associated with gallinaceous birds, wood pigeons, hares and rabbites.