Fun Chaco Owl Facts For Kids

Mellisa Nair
Oct 20, 2022 By Mellisa Nair
Originally Published on Aug 27, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Discover amazing Chaco owl facts.

The Chaco owl (Strix chacoensis) from the Chaco woodland in western Paraguay, northern Argentina, and south Bolivia is a medium-sized nocturnal bird species that generally inhabits dry, semi-arid, and mountainous regions.

This bird is also found in South America, south Córdoba, and Buenos Aires.

Since it is nocturnal, it mainly feeds on other animals that are active during the night such as scorpions, rats, ferrets, and other small mammals.

During the day this owl rests inside tree crooks and cavities, dense bushes, shrubs, or on tall isolated trees.

A few years ago, the Chaco owl was classified as a subspecies of the rufous-legged owl (Strix rufipes), found from the Western coast of South America to Central Chile, and through the Southernmost tip of Argentina, after new research and studies were conducted, and the results classified the Chaco owl as a separate species in 2005.

In fact, the revised study and research of this species made it clear that the Chaco owl is more closely related to the rusty-barred Owl (Strix hylophila) that inhabits regions of Southern Brazil, Paraguay, and Northeastern Argentina than it is to the rufous-legged owl.

Learn about some other birds from our burrowing owl facts and red owl facts pages.

Chaco Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Chaco owl?

The Chaco owl (Strix chacoensis) is a bird belonging to the Animalia kingdom.

What class of animal does a Chaco owl belong to?

The Chaco owl (Strix chacoensis) belongs to the class Aves.

How many Chaco owls are there in the world?

The accurate population size is unknown. However, the Chaco owl (Strix chacoensis) species faces the danger of extinction.

Where does a Chaco owl live?

The Chaco owl is found across South America and the Gran Chacoensis Chaco region of Argentina and Paraguay.

What is a Chaco owl's habitat?

The Chaco owl habitat includes dense forests with tall trees, shrubs, dry-patchy grasslands, hilly areas, and open forests, as it is active during the night. During the day, it roosts in thick bushes, on top of isolated trees, occasionally in a secretive and well-hidden spot on the ground, and regions with temperate climatic conditions.

Who do Chaco owls live with?

These birds are nocturnal and solitary and pair up only during the breeding season.

How long does a Chaco owl live?

The Chaco owl (Strix chacoensis) lives up to 9 or 10 years

How do they reproduce?

All species of owls are monogamous, including the Chaco owl, meaning that mating takes place between one male and one female in a single breeding season, unlike many passerine bird species that may mate with more than one partner, where some parental birds are partially involved in taking care of their eggs and hatchlings.

Chaco owls are highly territorial, especially during the breeding season, they aggressively defend their nests and territories from any invaders, including birds of the same or different species.

Their nests are generally built inside tree hollows and are made of twigs, dry grass, shredded bark, lined with other finer materials.

The breeding season begins in early May and lasts up to late July.

Females lay about two eggs in a single clutch. The eggs are incubated by the females, whereas the males are responsible for providing nutritious food.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has classified the Chaco owl (Strix chacoensis) species as Near Threatened, and vulnerable to potential extinction.

Chaco Owl Fun Facts

What does a Chaco owl look like?

The Chaco owl's body is covered with back and white streaks and band-like patterns, the feathers are black and white as well, it has large, round, and glossy black eyes, the facial disk (a concave collection of feathers on their face) is partially white encircled by a white rim and ring around the eyes, which makes the eyebrows appear as thin white stripes and almost invisible.

This owl has a round head and lacks ear tuffs just like a barn owl, with dark gray-brown underparts, a long tail, and wings that are covered with red-brown spots, a small yellow bill, even its legs are covered with feathers!

The toes, claws, or talons are reddish-brown with black tips. Both sexes of the Chaco owls are virtually identical, but females are slightly larger than males.

Young juveniles have duller plumage and lighter feathers.

Some from the southernmost end of their range have darker plumage and are thus often confused with the rufous-legged Owl (Strix rufipes).

Fun facts about the Chaco owl for kids.

How cute are they?

These owls are really cute because of their round heads, large eyes, and peculiar behavior!

How do they communicate?

They communicate via vocalizations and occasionally use body language. Hoots are not the only calls and sounds produced by this species, they also whistle, screech, scream, growl, shriek, and sometimes chirp.

How big is a Chaco owl?

A medium-sized Chaco owl (Strix chacoensis) is around 14 in (35 cm) tall. The wingspan is around 10 in (25.4 cm) long.

How fast can a Chaco owl fly?

A Chaco owl (Strix chacoensis) can fly up to 30 mph (48.2 kph).

How much does a Chaco owl weigh?

A Chaco owl (Strix chacoensis) weighs about 11-13 oz (300-360 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

A female Chaco owl is called an owl hen, and a male owl is called an owl cock.

What would you call a baby Chaco owl?

A baby Chaco owl is called an owlet.

What do they eat?

The Chaco owl diet includes worms, insects, small to medium-sized mammals, birds, snakes, frogs, fish.

These birds are often hunted by other larger, predatory owl species.

Are they dangerous?

They are very territorial and may attack you if you invade their personal space too much especially during the breeding season so you must maintain a safe distance. Besides this, they are quite friendly and won't cause any harm.

Would they make a good pet?

As the species is wild and classified as Near Threatened, it is best to let them live in their natural habitat or at conservation zoos. We do not recommend keeping them as pets.

Did you know...

If you bring along a recording of this bird's call it will greatly improve your chances of finding it, and once you locate the bird, it will even pose for photographs.

A Chaco owl is mainly nocturnal and rests on trees during the day, but sometimes it is crepuscular i.e. active during dawn or dusk.

Naming the Chaco owl

The Chaco owl was named after its origin, or the range it occupies i.e. the Gran Chacoensis Chaco region of Argentina and Paraguay.

How is it different from other Chaco owls?

Most owls in the genus Strix can be distinguished from other genera by carefully listening to their calls and lack of tuffs.

Since the Chaco owls are often confused with the species of rufous-legged owls, here are some points to help you differentiate between them - Chaco owls have evolved from the same ancestral population but were separated and geographically isolated from the other members.

You can also tell the difference between the two by paying close attention to their colors as a Chaco owl is paler, with lesser brown markings on its feathers and a fairly white facial disk.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our cliff swallow facts or common kingfisher facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Chaco owl coloring pages.

Chaco Owl Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Rats, smaller birds, snakes

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

11-13 oz (300-360 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

semi-arid regions, trees, dense shrubs

Where Do They Live?

argentina, paraguay

How Long Were They?


How Tall Were They?

14 in (35 cm)







Scientific Name

Strix chacoensis

What Do They Look Like?

Brown, white

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Near Threatened
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Written by Mellisa Nair

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Mellisa Nair picture

Mellisa NairBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Specializing in the creation of SEO-friendly content, Mellisa brings enthusiasm and expertise to our team. Her work in digital marketing and social media is complemented by her academic background in economics and English literature, as she holds a Bachelor's degree in these subjects from Wilson College Chowpatty, Mumbai. Mellisa's experience working with clients from various industries, including retail, education, and technology, reflects her ability to adapt her skills to different contexts and audiences.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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