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Long-eared Owl Asio otus


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Long-eared Owl
credit: Mindaugas Urbonas /CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Strigidae, Owls view all from this family

Description ADULT AND JUVENILE Have dark brown upperparts and paler underparts; however, whole body is heavily streaked. At close range, note rounded, orange-buff facial disc and staring orange eyes. "Ear" tufts are appreciably longer than those of Short-eared.

Dimensions Length: 15" (38 cm); Wngspn: 3' 3" (1 m)

Habitat Nests in dense woodland and scrub thickets, usually in vicinity of open country for hunting. Outside breeding season, birds disperse and northern populations migrate south. In winter, roosts communally in dense thickets.

Observation Tips Hard to observe in daytime, although most people's experience will be a partial view at a daytime winter roost.

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

Voice Mostly silent, but series of deep hoots is sometimes heard in spring.

Discussion Nocturnal and secretive owl. When alarmed, sometimes adopts elongated posture with "ear" tufts raised. In flight, could be mistaken for Short-eared, but has orange-buff overall underwing color (whitish in Short-eared) and more extensive, but barred, dark wingtips. Orange-buff upper wing patch is more striking than on Short-eared. Sexes are similar.