Flammulated Owl
(Psiloscops flammeolus)


Picture of bird
© Dick Cannings
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Flammulated Owl is restricted to mature Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine forests in southern British Columbia, where its small size and nocturnal habits make it difficult to detect and thus monitor. Using habitat loss through forest harvest, forest fire, and pine beetle infestations as a proxy for assessment, the population of Flammulated Owl in Canada has likely decreased moderately since 1970 (COSEWIC 2010c). Its small population and dependence on older forests led the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada to assess it as a species of Special Concern in 1988; that assessment was reconfirmed in 1998, 2001 and 2010 (COSEWIC 2010c). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
COSEWIC (Canada)Special Concern2010 
SARA (Canada)Special Concern2003 
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Partners in Flight (North America)Watch list - yellow R2017 
Wild Species (Canada)Vulnerable2015 
State of North America’s BirdsWatch list2016 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate DecreaseMediumBelow Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada500 - 5,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

Conservation and management

The Flammulated Owl requires older forests for breeding habitat, and is thus sensitive to forest clearing for timber harvest, livestock grazing, suburban development, and forest fires (COSEWIC 2010c). Currently, problematic native species are the greatest threat to the Flammulated Owl (Environment Canada 2013a). Insect epidemics that reduce the size and quality of prefered forest habitat and the large range expansion of Barred Owls have been identified as major threats to the species (Environment Canada 2013a). Flammulated Owls readily use nest boxes (Cannings and Cannings 1982). For information on the legal status of this species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), see the SARA Registry.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Conservation
Northern RockiesNorthern Rockies, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Other