The Short-Eared Owl (Asio flammeus flammeus) is a medium-sized bird in the Strigidae family.
The Short-Eared Owl had mottled tawny-brown feathers with a barred tail and barred wings. It upper chest is streaked. It has short, hidden ear tufts, which are usually visible when it is defensive. It has a big head, a short neck, and large yellow-orange eyes wih black eye-rings. It has broad wings. Its beak is short, strong, hooked, and black.
It measures 34-43 centimetres (13-17 inches) tall. It has a wingspan of 85-110 centimetres (33-43 inches). Females are slightly larger than males.
The Short-Eared Owl is found in North America, Europe, northern Africa, and northern Asia. It is not found in the Antarctica, nor in Australia. It prefers open country and grasslands.
It is mainly nocturnal, hunting at night, but it may also be diurnal (active during the day) or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk). It eats rodents, such as voles, mice, rats, and squirrels. It also eats bats and small birds, as well as grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars.
The Short-Eared Owl generally mates for life – it is monogamous. It nests on the ground in tall grass or low vegetation. The female lays 4-7 white eggs, which hatch after 21-37 days. The chicks grow all of their feathers after about 28 days.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM