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ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT PROFILE

PROTECTION STATUS: Threatened

YEAR PLACED ON LIST: 1993

CRITICAL HABITAT: 8,647,749 acres in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah designated in 2004

RECOVERY PLAN: 1995, revised 2012

RANGE: Largest geographic distribution of all spotted owl subspecies, extending from the four-corner states southward into west Texas and Mexico’s Sierra Madres; nearly 90 percent of known territories exist on Forest Service lands in Arizona and New Mexico

THREATS: Logging, urban encroachment, mining, large-scale recreational developments, and wildfire

POPULATION TREND: Like the other two subspecies of spotted owl, California and Northern, Strix occidentalis lucida has suffered extensive population declines. Only about 2,100 owls are thought to still exist north of the border, far fewer in Mexico. The owl has been extirpated from low-elevation riparian forests in Arizona and New Mexico. Between the years 1991 and 1997, research documented spotted owl populations on the Gila and Coconino national forests declining by at least 10 percent per year. Scientists have continued to detect dwindling populations: no owls successfully reproduced in the Gila study area in 2002.

Photo © Robin Silver