Skip to main content

Short-eared Owl

Silhouette OwlsOwls
Short-eared OwlAsio flammeus
  • ORDER: Strigiformes
  • FAMILY: Strigidae

Basic Description

This open-country hunter is one of the world's most widely distributed owls, and among the most frequently seen in daylight. Don't look too eagerly for the ear tufts, which are so short they're often invisible. More conspicuous features are its black-rimmed yellow eyes staring out from a pale facial disk. These birds course silently over grasslands on broad, rounded wings, especially at dawn and dusk. They use acute hearing to hunt small mammals and birds.

More ID Info
image of range map for Short-eared Owl
Range map provided by Birds of the World
Explore Maps

Find This Bird

Unless you live in the northern U.S. or Canada, you'll want to look for Short-eared Owls during winter. Look for open fields, grasslands, or airports and visit near dawn or dusk for your best chance of finding them. They may be sitting directly on the ground or flying low and erratically as they hunt. They often cover great distances in a crisscrossing or roughly circular route, so if one flies out of sight be patient—it may come back for a return visit.

Other Names

  • Búho Campestre (Spanish)
  • Hibou des marais (French)
  • Cool Facts