Cover image for North American owls : biology and natural history
North American owls : biology and natural history
Johnsgard, Paul A.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiii, 298 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 27 cm
Comparative biology of owls. Evolution and classification of North American owls -- Comparative ecology and distribution -- Comparative morphology and physiology -- Comparative behavior -- Comparative reproductive biology -- Owls in myth and legend -- Natural histories of North American owls. Family Tytonidae. Barn owl -- Family Strigidae. Flammulated owl -- Eastern screech-owl -- Western screech-owl -- Mexican screech-owls -- Whiskered screech-owl -- Crested owl --- Spectacled owl -- Great horned owl -- Snowy owl -- Northern hawk-owl -- Northern pygmy-owl -- Mexican pygmy-owls -- Ferruginous pygmy-owl -- Elf owl -- Burrowing owl -- Mottled owl -- Black-and-white owl -- Spotted owl -- Barred owl-- Great gray owl -- Long-eared owl -- Stygian owl -- Short-eared owl -- Striped owl -- Boreal owl -- Northern saw-whet owl -- Appendix 1: Key to genera and species of North American owls (exclusive of strictly Mexican species) -- Key to genera and species of indigenous Mexican owls -- Key to structural variations in external ears of North American owl genera (exclusive of Mexico) -- Appendix 2: Advertisement and other typical calls of non-Mexican North American owls -- Appendix 3: Origins of scientific and vernacular names of North American owls.
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Table of contents
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL696.S8 J64 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
QL696.S8 J64 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Paul Johnsgard has completely updated his highly praised 1988 edition ofNorth American Owls, and by adding twelve species of Mexican owls he now covers the entire continent of North America. With detailed accounts of the nineteen owl species that breed north of Mexico, this comprehensive natural history includes thorough explanations of evolutionary relationships, ecology and distribution, anatomy and physiology, and reproductive biology.

Author Notes

Paul A. Johnsgard is Foundation Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He is the author of The Pheasants of the World: Biology and Natural History, Second Edition (Smithsonian, 1999) and Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons of North America: Biology and Natural History (Smithsonian, 2001).

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Owls (order Strigiformes ) are a distinctive group of birds adapted for nocturnal predation by highly developed eyes and ears, soft plumage that allows virtually silent flight, and powerful taloned feet. (While owls do also have proportionately large brains, their reputation for wisdom is only a myth.) Johnsgard's study of the owls of the United States and Canada is divided into two parts: a general review of owl systematics, ecology, morphology, physiology, behavior, reproduction, and folklore; and detailed natural histories of the 19 species. Mainly a synthesis of the literature (there is a 476-item bibliography), this book will serve both professional and serious amateur ornithologists. Paul B. Cors, Univ. of Wyoming Lib., Laramie (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Updated from the 1989 edition with the added coverage of owls of Mexico, this is another well-written and useful monograph on North American bird families by Johnsgard. Brief overviews of the evolution, ecology, physiology, behavior, and mythology of owls are followed by species accounts of North American owls. The species accounts are clear and nontechnical and much more detailed than a field guide with full-page range maps. Good monographs such as this one occupy a middle ground between ornithology textbooks, field guides, and complete series such as The Birds of North America (18v.; v. 1, CH, Oct'93) or Handbook of the Birds of the World (v. 1-2, CH, May'96; v. 3, CH, Jun'97; v. 4, CH, Jul'98; v. 5, CH, Apr'00; v. 6, CH, Oct'01; v. 7, CH, Dec'02), but they do not substitute for any of these and it would be unfortunate to forgo the purchase of a complete series for a patchwork of monographs. Bibliography of about 900 citations; index limited to species names; dichotomous keys to calls, genera, and species and morphology of the ear; 42 full-color plates. Accessible to lay readers, this would be a useful addition to any library collecting for patrons above the eighth-grade level. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels. T. C. Williams emeritus, Swarthmore College