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World Owl Trust - leading the World in Owl Conservation
Monday 24th November, 2014

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Syrian Little Owl
Athene noctua
Little Owl - Athene noctua    Little Owl - Athene noctua
Little Owl - Athene noctua
As of February 2005.
Description Small owl with squat appearance. Brownish above, heavily mottled with white, and white or buff below boldly streaked with brown. Indistinct facial disk and yellow eyes.
Size 19-25cm, 108-210g
Range W Europe, North Africa across Middle East and Central Asia to China and Manchuria. Introduced into Britain and New Zealand.
Habitat Open country with trees and bushes from parks and pastures and steppes to rocky country, semi-desert and desert.
Food Invertebrates, small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Also documented as deliberately?? eating plant material including grass, leaves, berries and maize.
Breeding Breeds from March-August. 3-6 eggs are laid in a cavity in a tree, wall, building etc., sometimes even an old animal burrow is used. Eggs are incubated for about 28 days. The young fledge at around 5 weeks and become independent by 9-10 weeks.
Call A mellow, questioning “goohk” rising sharply in pitch at the end.
Status Not globally threatened, but numbers in many European countries have fallen dramatically in recent years.
Comments The WORLD OWL TRUST is currently investigating the fall in numbers of this bird across Europe.
Races Many other sub-species have been described but may just represent colour morphs. The NE African and Middle Eastern birds may represent distinct species, and the race lilith also appears to be genetically and vocally distinct. More studies are required to clarify the situation.
A.n.noctua C Europe from Denmark to Italy across to NW Russia and Albania
A.n.vidalii W Europe from Iberia to Belgium and introduced into England and New Zealand
A.n.glaux N Africa from Morocco and Mauritania across to Egypt
A.n.orientalis Turkistan and Tien Shan
A.n.ludlowi Tibet and N Bhutan
A.n.plumipes Altai and from Lake Baikal to Mongolia, NE China and Korea
A.n.indigena S Albania, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria east to Caspian
A.n.bactriana Transcaspia to Lake Balkash, south to Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan
A.n.lilith S Turkey through Middle East and Arabian Peninsula
A.n.spilogastra Red Sea coast of Sudan and N Ethiopia
A.n.somaliensis SW Ethiopia to N Somalia
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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.
The World Owl Trust is a member of EAZA

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