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explore Raptors

Long-eared Owl

Scientific Name:

Asio otus

Population Status:

Least Concern

Body Length:

13-16 inches

Wingspan:

3 to 3-1/2 feet

Weight:

8-16 ounces

What makes a raptor a raptor?

Did you know?

  • Like Short-eared Owls, Long-eared Owls often roost in colonies during the non-breeding season.
  • The feathered tufts on top of the heads of tufted owls — like Great Horned Owls, screech owls, and Long-eared Owls — are not horns or ears but feathers that are used to communicate and help the bird blend into its surroundings.

Where they live

Long-eared Owls are distributed across North America, Eurasia, and extreme northern Africa.

Why they need our help

In several areas in the United States, these owls are endangered, threatened, or vulnerable due to loss of habitat.

What they eat

They mainly eat small mammals and some birds. They hunt at night flying low over the ground in forest openings and along forest edges. Prey is caught on the ground or from bushy vegetation.

Nest, eggs and young

They often use abandoned stick nests of other birds or occasionally nest in cavities in a tree or on a cliff. The female lays 5-7 eggs, which are incubated for 26-28 days. The young leave the nest in 20-25 days and begin to fly 35 days after hatching. The young remain with the parents for about 2 months after they fledge. Young birds are able to breed at 1 year of age.

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