Long-eared Owl

Asio otus




Barn Owls, Typical Owls (Tytonidae & Strigidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

2 - 10

Incubation Days:

26 - 28

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

4 - 30 feet above the ground.

Nest Material:

Typically does not build nests. Uses abandoned nests. Will sometimes evict crows.


Northern birds migrate



Long-eared Owl: Medium-sized owl with gray-brown body with pale bars and heavy streaks on underparts. Facial disc is rufous with white patch below bill. Ear tufts are close together, long, black and rufous, and are not visible in flight. Female is darker. Superficially resembles Great Horned Owl, but is much smaller.

Range and Habitat

Long-eared Owl: Commonly occurs throughout the northern hemisphere. In North America breeds from southern Canada to New England and much of the southwest. Winters from the Midwest south to Mexico. Preferred habitats include dense vegetation close to grasslands or shrublands, as well as open forests.

Breeding and Nesting

Long-eared Owl: Two to ten white eggs are laid in an abandoned stick or cavity nest; occasionally builds its own nest. Female incubates eggs for 26 to 28 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Long-eared Owl: Eats mice, moles, ground squirrels, small birds, small snakes, and insects. An active hunter suspected of capturing most of its prey by sound due to its ability to locate mice in complete darkness; most prey is captured on the ground or in low vegetation.


Long-Eared Owl: Male advertisement call is a low "hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo" repeated 10 to 200 times, with one note every two to three seconds. Female responds with a raspy buzz and often duets with the male. When alarmed, barks "whek-WHEK-whek" or shrieks like a cat; also hisses.

Similar Species

Long-eared Owl: Great-Horned Owl is much larger, stouter, and has wider-spaced ear tufts. Short-Eared Owl lacks rufous in facial disc and has shorter ear tufts.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X