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GALLERIES > BIRDS > STRIGIFORMES > STRIGIDAE > SHORT-EARED OWL [Asio flammeus]


Short-eared Owl Picture @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Haleakala Crater, Maui, Hawaii
GPS: 20.7N, -156.2W, elev=6,340' MAP
Date: October 12, 2007
ID : 9694 [3888 x 2592]

Short-eared Owl Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Haleakala Crater, Maui, Hawaii
GPS: 20.7N, -156.2W, elev=6,340' MAP
Date: October 12, 2007
ID : 9691 [3888 x 2592]

bird photography

Short-eared Owl Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: San Jacinto Wildlife Area, CA
GPS: 33.9N, -117.1W, elev=1,426' MAP
Date: January 18, 2012
ID : B13K3475 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

SPECIES INFO

The Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) is a species of typical owl (family Strigidae). Owls belonging to genus Asio are known as the eared owls, as they have tufts of feathers resembling mammalian ears. These "ear" tufts may or may not be visible. Asio flammeus will display its tufts when in a defensive pose. However, its very short tufts are usually not visible. The Short-eared Owl is found in open country and grasslands.

Asio flammeus, the Short-eared Owl, is a medium-sized owl averaging 34-43 cm (13 to 17 inches) in length and weighing 206-475 grams (11 to 13 ounces). It has large eyes, big heads, short necks, and broad wings. Its bill is short, strong, hooked and black. Its plumage is mottled tawny to brown with a barred tail and wings. The upper breast is significantly streaked (Alsop 2001). Wingspans range from 85 to 103 cm (38 to 44 inches). Females are slightly larger than males. The yellow-orange eyes of A. flammeus are exaggerated by black rings encircling each eye, and large, whitish disks of plumage surrounding the eyes like a mask.

The Short-eared Owl occurs on all continents except Antarctica and Australia; thus it has one of the largest distributions of any bird. A. flammeus breeds in Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the Galápagos Islands. It is partially migratory, moving south in winter from the northern parts of its range. The Short-eared Owl is known to relocate to areas of higher rodent populations (Ehrlich 1988). It will also wander nomadically in search of better food supplies during years when vole populations are low. See a map of the Short-eared Owl's distribution across the New World.

The Short-eared Owl nests on the ground in prairie, tundra, savanna, or meadow habitats. Nests are concealed by low vegetation, and may be lightly lined by weeds, grass, or feathers (Ehrlich 1988). Approximately 4 to 7 white eggs are found in a typical clutch, but clutch size can reach up to a dozen eggs in years when voles are abundant. There is one brood per year. The eggs are incubated mostly by the female for 21-37 days. Offspring fledge at a little over four weeks. This owl is known to lure predators away from its nest by appearing to have a crippled wing (Alsop 2001).

Sexual maturity is attained at one year. Breeding season in the northern hemisphere lasts from March to June, peaking in April. During this time these owls may gather in flocks. During breeding season, the males make great spectacles of themselves in flight to attract females. The male swoops down over the nest flapping its wings in a courtship display (Ehrlich 1988). These owls are generally monogamous.

Hunting occurs mostly at night, but this owl is diurnal and crepuscular as well as nocturnal. It tends to fly only feet above the ground in open fields and grasslands until swooping down upon its prey feet-first (Alsop 2001). Several owls may hunt over the same open area (Kaufman 2000). Its food consists mainly of rodents, especially voles, but it will eat other small mammals and some large insects (Ehrlich 1988). Sometimes it even tends to eat smaller birds. Its flight is characteristically floppy due to its irregular wingbeats. The Short-eared Owl may also be described as "moth or bat-like" in flight.

Short-eared Owls have a scratchy bark-like call. Raspy waowk, waowk, waowk or toot-toot-toot-toot-toot sounds are common. A loud eeee-yerp is also heard on breeding grounds. However, Short-eared Owls are silent on the wintering grounds (Alsop 2001).

1. The Short-eared Owl has been known to territorially compete with the Barn Owl[citation needed]. 2. The Short-eared Owl may nest on reclaimed or replanted mines, and has been observed doing so farther south than their normal breeding range. This makes it one of the few species to which strip-mining has become an advantage 3.The word flammeus is Latin for "flaming, or the color of fire".



                                     




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short_eared_owl's Range Map Click here to see the Short-eared Owl's range map!
Listen to the Short-eared Owl Song:



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