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Endangered Species: Are Owls at Risk?

Endangered Owl Species

There are about 250 species of owls in the world. Different species have different regional habitats. However, nowadays, many owl species are decreasing. 

This raises the question, “Are owls at risk?” Well, this doesn’t have a one-word “yes” or “no” answer. Since there are many species, some owl species are endangered, including Blakiston’s Eagle-owl. Though endangered species are at risk, not the least concerned are. 

In this article, I will discuss some endangered species, along with the least concern and others. So, stick with this guide to learn more about the owl’s status worldwide. 

Endangered Species: Are Owls at Risk?

As I mentioned earlier, all species are not at risk. The species that are listed as vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered by the IUCN Red List are at risk.

Are Owls at Risk

However, to understand the risk, you must first understand the meaning of vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered. So, below, I have clarified the meaning of these terms. 

  • Vulnerable (VU): According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, vulnerable species are those that have a high risk of extinction. The extinction may occur if the circumstances they live in and their reproduction don’t improve. 
  • Endangered (EN): Endangered species are the species that have a very high risk of extinction. The extinction may occur if the circumstances they live in and their reproduction don’t improve. 
  • Critically Endangered (CR): Critically Endangered species are the species that have an Extremely high risk of extinction. The extinction may occur if the circumstances they live in and their reproduction don’t improve.

What Are The Endangered Owl Species Worldwide? 

What Are The Endangered Owl Species Worldwide

Here is a table showing the endangered owl species. The table is made with the help of data sources from the IUCN Red List/Owl.

Owl SpeciesScientific NameStatus (Worldwide)Population (Adults)Geographic Origin
Siau Scops-owlOtus siaoensisCR1-49Indonesia
Pernambuco Pygmy-owlGlaucidium mooreorumCR0-49Brazil
Annobon Scops-owlOtus feaeCR50- 249Equatorial Guinea
Seychelles Scops-owlOtus insularisCR200-280Seychelles
Romblon BoobookNinox spilonotusEN250-999Philippines
Least BoobookNinox sumbaensisEN10,000-19,999Indonesia
Congo Bay-owlPhodilus priggingEN2,500-9,999Congo
Sokoke Scops-owlOtus ireneaeEN2,500-9,999Kenya; Tanzania
Forest OwletAthene blewittiEN250-999India
Anjouan Scops-owlOtus capnodesEN2,300-3,600Comoros
Moheli Scops-owlOtus moheliensisEN260Comoros
Blakiston’s Eagle-owl/ Blakiston’s Fish-owlBubo blakistoniEN1,000-2,499Russian Federation (Eastern Asian Russia);Japan; China
Flores Scops-owlOtus alfrediEN250-2,499Indonesia
Snowy OwlBubo scandiacusVU14,000-28,000Svalbard and Jan Mayen; China; Iceland; Japan; Kazakhstan; Latvia; United Kingdom; Finland; Greenland; Canada; Russian Federation; Norway
Sao Tome Scops-owlOtus hartlaubiVU250-999Sao Tome and Principe
Golden Masked-owlTyto aurantiaVU2,500-9,999Papua New Guinea
Shelley’s Eagle-owlBubo shelleyiVU1,500-7,000Congo; Cameroon; Congo
Pemba Scops-owlOtus pembaensisVU3,000Tanzania
New Britain BoobookNinox odiosaVU10,000-19,999Papua New Guinea
Visayan Scops-owlOtus nigrorumVU1,000-2,499Philippines
Santa Marta Screech-owlMegascops gilesiVU2,300-7,500Colombia
Camiguin BoobookNinox leventisiVU250-1,400Philippines
Fearful OwlNesasio solomonensisVU2,500-9,999Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands
Biak Scops-owlOtus beccariiVU2,500-9,999Indonesia
Christmas Island BoobookNinox natalisVU240-1,200Christmas Island
Javan Scops-owlOtus angelinaeVU1,500-7,000Indonesia (Jawa)
Long-whiskered OwletXenoglaux loweryiVU250-999Peru
Cloud Forest Pygmy-owlGlaucidium nubicolaVU1,500-7,000Colombia; Ecuador
Giant Scops-owlOtus gurneyiVU2,500-9,999Philippines
White-fronted Scops-owlOtus sagittatusVU2,500-9,999Malaysia; Thailand; Myanmar

The world’s biggest owl, called Blakiston’s Eagle-owl/ Blakiston’s Fish-owl, is also endangered. See how this mighty hunter hunts on fish. 

See also:  Do Owls Eat Fruit? Unveiling the Truth

What Are the Reasons Owl Population Is at Risk?

Now you know if the owl species that are in VU, EN, and CR states will be extinct if they can’t reproduce. But why does this happen? What are the reasons behind the situations that keep the owl species at risk? 

There are some crucial factors that affect the population of owls. Let’s see how they affected their population. 

Loss of Habitat

Forests and grasslands are the main habitats of owls. Deforestation and loss of grasslands greatly impacted the habitats of owls. Humans cut down the trees and clean the grassland to make their habitat, industries, and so on. 

As a result, the habitat opportunities for owls and other wild animals are expected to decrease. 

Reasons Owl Population Is at Risk

According to the FAO of the UN, from the year 2000 to 2020, 4.7 million hectares of forest were lost per year on average worldwide. Though the rate is decreasing compared to previous decades, it is still huge and impacts the habitat of owls. 

On the other hand, according to the World Wildlife Fund(WWF), in 2021, just America and Canada lost 1.6 million acres of grasslands. So you see how these impact the habitat of wildlife, including owls. 


Diseases also have a great impact on wild owls. Diseases like Gongylonema sp, Blood Parasites, Herpesvirus Infection, etc., have a huge impact on owls. As a result, their breeding capacity is decreased, and this impacts their population growth. 

Aside from these, owls also suffer from Salmonellosis, West Nile Virus, Cryptococcosis, etc., viruses that impact their lifespan and breeding rate. 

See also:  Do Owls Attack Humans? What To Do If An Owl Attacks You?

Lack of Prey

Insufficient food availability also has a great impact on the owl population. Lack of prey drives the species to decrease the reproduction and survival of adults. 

The scarcity of food also forces the owl species to cover a large area to search for food, which results in conflict with other predator birds like eagles, hawks, etc. 

Aside from these, this also brings competition with other owls for food, and the survival rate decreases over time. 

Owl Population Is at Risk


Illegal poaching of owls by poachers also impacts the population of owls in certain areas. Poachers kill these birds for their lovely feathers to make money. 

As a result, poaching increases the mortality rate, disrupts breeding behavior, decreases territory defense, and changes in population. 

Climate Change

Climate change due to deforestation and urbanization also impacts the owl population. Climate change impacts the habitat and prey availability, increases or decreases the normal temperature, and forces owls to migrate. 

Climate change also impacts the survival ability of owls due to changes in temperature. 

Action We Should Take to Conserve Owls

To save the species worldwide, we, including the general people and governments, should ensure the following things. 

Action We Should Take to Conserve Owls

Habitat Conservation

We destroy wildlife habitats by deforestation. It is crucial to restore and protect the natural habitat of owls and other wildlife. To do so, we have to do some particularly planned tasks. 

  • Limited Habitat Fragmentation: We have to limit urbanization. Also, we have to go for multiple agricultural projects on limited lands. 
  • Promoting Sustainable Agriculture: We need to go for sustainable agriculture, too. In the sustainable agriculture model, humans will support both agriculture and owl conservation. 

In this regard, integrated pest management is a great way for sustainable agriculture, where owls will control your land pests. This will make a balanced environment for both your farming and the survival of owls by providing prey to owls for their survival. 

Avoidance of Human Disturbance

Don’t disturb the habitat area of owls. Disturbance includes making loud noises, accessing the breeding and nesting area of owls, etc. 

Conserve Owls

Hunting Regulations

Governments have to impose strict hunting regulations for owls. Precise laws must be implemented with precise penalties for illegal hunting and killing of owls. 

Education and Awareness

  • You can promote humans’ responsibilities to wildlife. 
  • Also, educate people about the crucial ecological importance of owls. 
  • Educate people about conserving the habitat of owls and not destroying forests and grasslands. 
  • Also, people should not hunt wildlife unnecessarily and illegally. Aware people about climate change due to their activities, as well. 


Here are some frequently asked queries about the endangerment of owls. 

Q1. What do owls do when threatened?

Though owls are at the top of the food chain, they also have some predators. Predators, including raccoons, eagles, and other predatory animals, and birds prey on them. 

When they are threatened with preying, they hiss and clack to scare off the predators. 

Q2. Are owls a protected species?

In the USA, owls are protected species. The federal and state law protects them. Any kind of hunting and killing of them is strictly prohibited. 

Q3. Why is it a good idea to protect owls?

Rodents can harm the corps of farmers. On the other hand, owls are at the top of the food chain. They prey on rodents and keep the population in control. It is important to protect them to keep the ecosystem’s balance. 


So, from our guide on “Endangered Species: Are Owls at Risk?” you would know which species are endangered. Humans have a great impact on their sustainability as all the problems they face are brought by humans. 

So, we need to be aware and ensure a living environment for them. We should save our earth from deforestation and climate change. We also should let the wildlife live their life and refrain from hunting them illegally. 

With our empathy, owls and other wildlife can get out of the risk of extinction. 


Peter Kaestner

Hi there, my name is Peter Kaestner and I am the owner of As a avid bird watcher and enthusiast with a passion for ornithology, I want to share my knowledge and experience with other bird lovers through this blog. As someone who regularly participates in bird-related forums and groups online, I am dedicated to helping others learn more about these amazing creatures. However, it's important to note that while I am happy to share my expertise and advice, it is always crucial to consult with an avian veterinarian before making any decisions that could potentially impact your bird's health or well-being. Your bird's health and happiness should always be your top priority, and consulting with a professional is the best way to ensure that you are making informed decisions on their behalf. I hope that through my blog, I can help make a positive difference in the lives of birds and the people who care for them. Whether you are an experienced bird owner or just starting out, I encourage you to use this resource as a way to learn more about these fascinating animals and how to provide them with the best possible care.View Author posts