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Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus


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Short-eared Owl
credit: Dario Sanches/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Strigidae, Owls view all from this family

Description ADULT AND JUVENILE Buffy brown overall, but heavily spotted and streaked on upperparts, including neck; underparts are paler overall, but heavily streaked. Facial disc is round; note staring yellow eyes and short "ear" tufts.

Dimensions Length: 16" (41 cm)

Habitat Declining, but still fairly common across northeastern Canada during breeding season. Favors open habitatsótundra, undisturbed grassland, and prairie. Moves south in fall, range extending to southern U.S.

Observation Tips Partly diurnal habits mean it is fairly easy to see in open grassland habitats.

Range Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas, California, Western Canada, Florida, Northwest, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Southeast, New England, Alaska, Eastern Canada

Voice Displaying birds sometimes utter deep hoots.

Discussion Medium-sized, well-marked owl that often hunts in daylight, mainly for small mammals. Flight is leisurely and slow: glides frequently, and flies holding its long, narrow, and round-tipped wings rather stiffly. Usually quarters ground at low level, but displaying birds sometimes rise to considerable heights. Often sits on fence posts or grassland tussocks. Sexes are similar, but female is larger and often darker than male.