Classe: Uccelli (Aves)
Dimensions: length 15 cm, wingspan 30-35 cm, weight 50-70 grams
Life: perhaps 10 years; precise data are not available
Habitat: it prefers not very thick conifer woods, especially made of Spruce Firs, above 800-1,000 meters
Diet: it mainly feeds on birds, voles, and other small rodents. Its marked aggressiveness allows it to capture birds larger than itself, like the Greater Spotted Woodpecker or the Thrush
Reproduction: at the end of winter the male attracts the female into its territory and shows her various cavities that are fit for living, and offers her food in order to strengthen the bond between the pair. Between April and May, the female lays 4-5 eggs and hatches them for a month, while the male goes hunting.
Cubs: like all the chicks of nocturnal raptors, they are blind and inept, and must be protected and fed by the mother. After three weeks they learn how to feed themselves and begin to leave the nest and crawl around in the surroundings. After another ten days they can fly. Their parents continue feeding them for another month, until they are able to hunt by themselves.
Curiosities: this tiny raptor has the strange habit of storing its preys in tree holes, which become its "larders" for the winter.
Notes: it is the smallest nocturnal raptor, hunting especially at dusk and sometimes also during the day. On a branch, it waits for its prey. Given its diminutive size, it needs a lot of energy, especially in winter. This is the reason why it stores abundant food.
In the Park: Caiada, Val Pramper, Val del Grisol. Very rare to sight because of its small size and life habits.
Eurasian Pygmy Owl
(photo by Ottorino Mazzucco)