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Meet the World’s Smallest Owl


Watch the elf owl, the smallest owl in the world, hunt food for its chicks. Despite their small size, these owls are able to tackle prey almost as big and powerful as themselves.


- [Narrator] A voracious predator is closing in on Big Bend.

Flying through the night, he has come from the South where he spent the winter waiting and preparing for his journey North.

For the next five months, he will bring a swift and silent death to countless creatures of the Big Bend night.

He is an elf owl, the very smallest owl in the world.

Barely five inches high and weighing less than a tennis ball, but for elf owls, size, truly doesn't matter.

They'll tackle prey almost as big and powerful as themselves.

This male elf owl now has a partner.

She's moved into their nest, an old woodpecker hole in a giant agave stalk.

Sitting on eggs for the next few weeks, she'll need him to do most of the hunting and when she's hungry, she lets him know all about it.

(chirping) From dusk to dawn, the male scours the surrounding desert for fresh supplies.

After all his efforts, he seems tempted to have a quick snack on the job, but mom is not impressed.

Sitting on three ravenous chicks, she's not tolerating that kind of behavior.

Every scrap of food is precious now, and with another three or four weeks before the young leave the nest, this extraordinary little father is facing many more hunting missions through the long desert nights.


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