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Short-eared Owl

Range:

Almost worldwide; most prevalent in North America, Europe, Asia. Common resident in Utah, many remain throughout winter.

Habitat:

Open plains, irrigated fields, foothills, marshes and dunes (not forest).

Characteristics:

Plumage is usually streaked pale brown (although variations range to grayish and deep brown) with cream-colored breast. The upper wings have large buff-colored patches and the underwings have a black patch at the carpal joint. The wings in flight form a "V" above the body. The facial disc is dark, eyes are yellow, ear tufts are rudimentary and inconspicuous.

Behavior:

Frequently hunts by day in association with the marsh hawk from which it can be distinguished by a much shorter tail, large round head and absence of white on the rump. Its hunting flight is also similar to the marsh hawk, circling close to the ground, sometimes hovering over a spot before pouncing, sometimes flapping and dropping down on its prey with down-stretched feet. This owl\\\'s flight often includes an unusual "clapping" of wings together beneath the body, producing a fluttering sound. This is often included in courtship flight, which is unique and showy, consisting of a number of short dives ending in an upward swoop. "Wounded bird" actions are common during nesting periods with either parent acting as a decoy to draw away a potential predator. Vocalizations consist of five different calls ranging from a typical low monotone toot, repeated 15-20 times (most common during courtship) to a high-pitched barking sound and even a sawing or rasping sound. Hissing and bill-snapping are also common. During migration and winter, the short-eared owl is generally silent. Most vocalizations occur during courting and nesting.

Reproduction:

The nest is generally a slight depression in the ground, sometimes lined sparsely with grasses or weed stalks. Courtship may begin in March, the eggs being laid some time between early April and mid-May. After 4-9 white eggs are laid, they are incubated for 21 days by both parents. The young may hatch at intervals of several days, accounting for great extremes in development of nest mates. Fledging takes from 21-36 days. Sexual maturity is reached at 2 years. The nest is generally a slight depression in the ground, sometimes lined sparsely with grasses or weed stalks. Courtship may begin in March, the eggs being laid some time between early April and mid-May. After 4-9 white eggs are laid, they are incubated for 21 days by both parents. The young may hatch at intervals of several days, accounting for great extremes in development of nest mates. Fledging takes from 21-36 days. Sexual maturity is reached at 2 years.

About Our Animals:

These animals are not currently in the Zoo\\\'s inventory.

Short-eared Owl
Native Utah Animal
See what other animals are Native to Utah.

Range
Class: aves
Genus: Asio
Species: flammeus flammeus
Length: 13-17 inches tall. Wingspread: 36-42 inches
Weight: Male: 14 ounces; female: 9 ounces
Average Lifespan: 5
Wild Diet: Approximately 75% rodents; some birds and insects.
Predators: Man and other large predators
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed


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