The Effects of Management Practices on Grassland Birds—Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea)

Professional Paper 1842-P
By: , and 



Keys to Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) management include providing areas of short, sparse vegetation and maintaining populations of prey species and of burrowing mammals to ensure availability of burrows as nest sites. In particular, the conservation of black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) and Richardson’s ground squirrel (Urocitellus richardsonii) colonies is vital to the preservation of Burrowing Owls on the Great Plains. Burrowing Owls have been reported to use habitats with less than 31 centimeters (cm) average vegetation height, 5–12 cm visual obstruction reading, 12–36 percent grass cover, 29–45 percent forb cover, 1–11 percent shrub cover, 11–58 percent bare ground, and 6–27 percent litter cover.

Suggested Citation

Shaffer, J.A., Igl, L.D., Johnson, D.H., Sondreal, M.L., Goldade, C.M., Rabie, P.A., Thiele, J.P., and Euliss, B.R., 2022, The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) (ver. 1.1, May 2023), chap. P of Johnson, D.H., Igl, L.D., Shaffer, J.A., and DeLong, J.P., eds., The effects of management practices on grassland birds: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1842, 35 p.,

ISSN: 2330-7102 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Capsule Statement
  • Breeding Range
  • Suitable Habitat
  • Prey Habitat
  • Area Requirements and Landscape Associations
  • Brood Parasitism by Cowbirds and Other Species
  • Breeding-Season Phenology and Site Fidelity
  • Species’ Response to Management
  • Management Recommendations from the Literature
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea)
Series title Professional Paper
Series number 1842
Chapter P
DOI 10.3133/pp1842P
Edition Version 1.0: June 7, 2022; Version 1.1: May 24, 2023
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description v, 35 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details