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World Owl Trust - leading the World in Owl Conservation
Wednesday 17th December, 2014

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Short-eared Owl
Asio flammeus
Short-eared Owl - Asio flammeus
Short-eared Owl - Asio flammeus
As of February 2005.
Description Medium sized owl with long wings, and very small (often concealed) ear tufts. Generally dusky brown with dark mottling above, paler below with dark streaks. Large greyish (grayish) facial disc with black around the smallish yellow eyes.
Size 33-41cm, 200-500g
Range North America from Alaska down to C USA, wintering further south, S South America, NW South America; Eurasia from NW Europe to E Siberia and NE China and Sakhalin, wintering in N Africa, Middle East, Pakistan and S China; also Caribbean, Falkland, Galapagos, and Hawaiian Islands.
Habitat Open habitat including pastures, moors, tundra downland etc normally with scattered trees or bushes.
Food Mainly small mammals especially voles and lemmings but also birds up to pigeon size and insects.
Breeding March-June in N hemisphere, begins September in S. 7-10 eggs, laid in depression on ground, normally concealed amongst vegetation. The female lines the nest with vegetation and down, one of only two owl species that bring material to the nest site. The eggs are incubated for 24-28 days. The young leave the nest as young as 2 weeks of age and conceal themselves in surrounding vegetation and are not independent for a further 5 weeks.
Call A rapid series of deep hoots rising then falling in pitch.
Status Not globally threatened, although populations in C Europe and parts of USA have declined dramatically, although increasing in other areas such as Hispaniola and Cuba.
Comments Like the Long-eared Owl the taxonomy of the species requires further study particularly of some island populations.
Races The race galapagoensis may prove to be a distinct species. The race domingensis (including portoricensis) has formerly been considered a separate species.
A.f.flammeus North America, Europe, Asia and NW Africa
A.f.bogotensis NW South America from Colombia and Venezuela to Surinam and from Ecuador south to Peru
A.f.suinda S Peru, C Chile, Bolivia and Brazil south to Tierra del Fuego
A.f.sandfordi Falkland Islands
A.f.sandwichensis Hawaii
A.f.ponapensis Ponape in Caroline Islands, S Pacific
A.f.domingensis Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba (includes portoricensis)
A.f.galapagoensis Galapagos Islands
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The World Owl Trust is a member of BIAZA
The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.
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