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 1:51:35 PM (CST) Monday, July 02, 2012

Owl Series: Long-Eared Owl Facts

Common Name(s): American Long-eared owl, Western Long-eared Owl, Wilson's Owl, Cod Owl, Lesser Horned Owl

Scientific Name: Asio otus

Approximate Wing Span: 36 – 42 in.

Approximate Life Span: 25 years

Natural Habitat: Dense forests


The Long-Eared Owl is considered a medium sized owl that is recognized by its obvious ear tufts that help to locate prey in dense forests. In fact, their unique ears have an exceptional hearing ability enabling theto catch small animals in complete darkness! These owls are also acknowledged by their extremely long wingspan that actually overlap each other when the bird is rested. It is extremely difficult to spot these birds during the day as they stretch out their camouflaged bodies to look like tree branches, enabling them to blend into their environment. When perched, the song of these owls are your typical “hoot” which can be heard from up to a kilometer away.

As stated, these owls reside in dense forests and vegetation by nearby grasslands and open areas throughout the majority of North America. This setting allows them to roost high in the trees during the day and hunt the open areas by night. They typically roost in nests made by other birds and vine clusters in evergreen and vine ridden trees.


As stated, Eastern Screech Owls reside in woody, tree covered areas that have an adequate amount of tree cavities. These owls are also prevalent in farmlands, suburban areas, and city parks giving them the name the “cosmopolitan owl.” As long as there is a sufficient recess in the tree, there is an opportunity it could be home to this mighty, little bird.

Food & Hunting

Long-Eared Owls primarily feed on small mammals or rodents that include mice, rats, rabbits, shrews and more. They are also known to feed on small birds, snakes and insects.

This species actively soars low over open ground and locates its prey primarily by its amazing sense of hearing during the night. Once they catch their prey, they instantly kill the animal by biting the back of its skull and proceed to swallow the animal whole.

Behavior & Habits

These birds tend to live in pairs, but are known to roost together in small groups during the winter. Long-Eared Owls are not territorial and commonly nest extremely close to each other. There continues to be no consistent pattern in their movements throughout their lifespan.


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