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Class Aves
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae


Aegolius acadicus (Gmelin 1798)—Northern Saw-whet OwlPleistocene regional distribution of Aegolius acadicus

This small owl is widely distributed in our region in the higher mountains and in the major river valleys. A record at Las Cruces (Ligon 1961) places it close to the fossil occurrence at Shelter Cave.


Mid/Late Wisconsin: Rancho La Brea (Stock and Harris 1992): Withdrawn.

Material earlier identified as this species were re-identified by Campbell and Bochńnski (2013) as Asphaltoglaux cecileae.

Mid Wisconsin-Holocene: Shelter Cave (Howard and Miller 1933).

Late Wisconsin: Carpinteria (Campbell and Bochńnski 2013); Sandia Cave (Brasso and Emslie 2006: cf.).

Literature. Brasso and Emslie 2006; Campbell and Bocheński 2013; Howard and Miller 1933; Ligon 1961; Stock and Harris 1992.


Aegolius funereus (Linnaeus 1758)—Boreal OwlPleistocene regional distribution of Aegolius funereus

Synonyms. Cryptoglaux funerea.

Boreal Owl

Fig. 1. Boreal Owl, Denali National Park. Photograph by Daniel A. Leifheit, courtesy of the US National Park Service.

The current distribution of this owl is northern North America, with a disjunct population reaching as far south as southern Colorado in the Southern Rockies. To the west, populations occur in Oregon, Idaho, and northwestern Wyoming, thence northward (Sibley 2000).

Howard (1931b) reported a rostrum and tarsometatarsus from Shelter Cave under the name Cryptoglaux funerea. She noted that the elements resemble C. f. richardsoni in all respects, but refrained from assigning it to a subspecies. The elements were recovered from light colored, fine textured, unconsolidated sediments and were associated with Geococcyx conklingi (= G. californianus conklingi).


Mid Wisconsin-Holocene: Shelter Cave (Howard 1931b).

Literature. Howard 1931b; Sibley 2000.


Last Update: 18 Jan 2016