Rare Earthtones Logo
Spacer Spacer
Center for Biological Diversity Home

CALIFORNIA SPOTTED OWL } Strix occidentalis occidentalis

RANGE: The Sierra Nevada and southern California mountain ranges

STATUS: Not listed under the Endangered Species Act; NatureServe calls the species Vulnerable.

THREATS: Logging, urbanization, wildfire, and competition from the invasive barred owl

Like its cousins the Mexican and northern spotted owls, the California spotted owl lives in ancient forests whose best owl habitat is rapidly being destroyed by logging. This owl’s classic four-note call was once heard often throughout the big trees of the Sierra Nevada and southern California ranges, including the giant sequoias of Kings Canyon National Park, but logging, urban sprawl, and recent encroachment by the barred owl — an aggressive relative that has been muscling spotted owls out of the woods from British Columbia to the Sierra — are silencing it. The Center for Biological Diversity and our allies have been advocating for Endangered Species Act protection for the owl since 2000.


Photo by USFS