spotted owl


: a rare large dark brown dark-eyed owl (Strix occidentalis) that has barred and spotted underparts and is found in humid old growth forests and thickly wooded canyons from British Columbia to southern California and central Mexico
especially : northern spotted owl

Examples of spotted owl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The letter against the proposal suggested USFWS should prioritize non-lethal methods to support spotted owls. Julia Marnin, Sacramento Bee, 27 Mar. 2024 But only spotted owls are native to the Pacific Northwest. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Jan. 2024 Their larger size, more generalist nature and faster reproduction rate have primed them to outcompete spotted owls. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Jan. 2024 Gerber has suggested redirecting some money from species getting more than their recovery plans seek — the bull trout, the gopher tortoise and the Northern spotted owl among them — to those receiving little or none. Matthew Brown, Fortune, 3 Jan. 2024 Hanson said seedlings are rising from the ashes in high-severity patches of fire and the dead wood provides habitat for imperiled spotted owls, Pacific fishers and rare woodpeckers. Brian Melley, Fortune, 26 Oct. 2023 Declining species, like spotted owls, may be hard to see, but recordings may help document the numbers of the species. Dakota Kim, Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2023 Ferns, lichen and moss grow in them, and salamanders, spotted owls and bats reside in the trees. Jim Robbins Ian C. Bates, New York Times, 15 Aug. 2023 Creating new trails would also add environmental impacts, such as damaging the Mexican spotted owl habitat. The Arizona Republic, 22 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spotted owl.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1896, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spotted owl was in 1896

Dictionary Entries Near spotted owl

Cite this Entry

“Spotted owl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

spotted owl

: a rare dark brown owl with white spots above and dark stripes below that is found from British Columbia to southern California and central Mexico

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