saw-whet owl

[saw-hwet, -wet]

noun

a very small North American owl, Aegolius acadicus, having streaked, brown plumage and lacking ear tufts.

Origin of saw-whet owl

An Americanism dating back to 1825–35; allegedly so called because its cry was likened to the noise of a saw being whetted
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019