Fun Long-eared Owl Facts For Kids

Georgia Stone
Aug 31, 2023 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Oct 26, 2021
Intriguing long-eared owl facts that kids will love to learn.

Long-eared owls are a species of medium-sized birds from the Northern Hemisphere. They are popular among ornithologists, due to the presence of distinctly long and ear tufts, unlike other owls.

These nocturnal birds are very predatory and can spot and catch prey with ease. These birds are found to roost in several countries of North America, Europe, and Asia amidst dense patches of trees.

These birds migrate during the winters from the northern to the southern countries to escape from the frigid cold of the temperate regions and to nest the young ones in their warm nests. To escape from predators, the slender adult owls stretch their bodies to look like the branches of a tree.

Although the long-eared owls (Asio otus) are a species of Least Concern at present, but they often fall victim to hunting, shooting, and vehicle hits. Proper conservation at the earliest time can save them from becoming Endangered.

Want to know more about the long-eared owls? Read on for more. Check out similar fun and interesting information about the owl and barn owl.

Long-Eared Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a long-eared owl?

The long-eared owl (Asio otus) is a unique bird species prevalent mostly in the countries of the Northern Hemisphere.

What class of animal does a long-eared owl belong to?

The long-eared owl (Asio otus) belongs to the class of Aves.

How many long-eared owls are there in the world?

They are a species of Least Concern at present, signifying their populations to be in stable condition across the world. The exact number of long-eared owls is therefore unknown.

Where does a long-eared owl live?

The long-eared owl is an owl species found almost in every continent of the world. Their habitat range is mostly in the Northern Hemisphere spread from North America, Europe, Russia, and Asia.

It is the most prevalent in North America (particularly New York and Michigan), the British Isles and Scandinavian countries of Europe, Russia and Siberian countries, India, Pakistan, and Japan. It is also found in isolated numbers in East and North Africa, the Azores, and the Canary Islands.

What is a long-eared owl's habitat?

The habitat range of the long-eared owl typically consists of woodland edges with a dense patch of trees, allowing them to roost and stick nests easily.

Their wide distribution range across several countries of the world makes them adaptive to a host of habitats like the grasslands, dry savannas, farmlands, wetlands, small tree groves, and even a high elevation up to 65.6 ft (20 m).

Who do long-eared owls live with?

These birds prefer living in pairs during the breeding season. Aside from this, they are found to live in small groups in the winter season.

How long does a long-eared owl live?

The lifespan of the long-eared owls is between 27-28 years on average in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

Their breeding season coincides with the winter. Males attract females by performing songs and the breeding season range from February to July.

Females lay around 2-10 eggs and incubate them for 26-28 days. Long-eared owls nest on tall trees, usually finding an abandoned nest left by some other birds.

While the male goes out to get food for the mother and the chicks, the female stays inside the nest protecting and nourishing the chicks. Both the male and female owls form monogamous pairs every winter. A female lays one egg on every other day, keeping them all in the nests.

The young chick is nourished by the male and female owls till it becomes an adult. The adult flies away from the nest after becoming independent.

What is their conservation status?

At present, the long-eared owls (Atios otus) are listed as bird species of Least Concern in the IUCN Red Book. However, the maximum of their population in the metropolises like New York and Japan are fast dwindling as they often get hit by cars.

They are also not safe from the threats of hunting, especially in North American countries. People capture them for various reasons, but the specifics are unknown.

In Michigan, their population is under threat due to extensive habitat loss and increasing human interference. In other sub-tropical countries, their population is considered stable.

However, land clearing activities can pose a serious threat to their existence. Hence, conservation efforts, if started at the earliest, can save these long-eared birds from the threats of extinction in the future.

Long-Eared Owl Fun Facts

What do long-eared owls look like?

Long-eared owls (Atios otus) are medium-sized slender and long birds, famous for their erect long ear tufts protruding from the center of their heads, unlike other owl species. Their body is covered with fluffy feathers.

While the base color of the adult bird is blackish-gray in color, it is dotted with streaks of brown, white, and pale yellow marks. Their eyes are placed in the deep eye sockets and are yellow in color with a black round pupil in the center.

How cute are they?

These birds are one of the cutest-looking owl species in the world. With their characteristic long ear tufts, they look extremely cute. Their drowsy orange-yellow eyes resting on deep eye sockets and their fluffy feathers gives them an adorable appearance. The young chicks look even cuter like fluff balls roosting on the nests.

How do they communicate?

The long-eared owls are very vocal and they communicate with distinct calls signifying specific behaviors. The frequency and intensity of hooting increase in the breeding season., especially by the males.

While at other times they remain comparatively silent. Adult populations roosting or nesting the young ones on a tree give out alarm calls to ward off predators, trying to invade their nest. They give out melodious hoots or quavering hoots while roosting and may also shriek or whistle when excited.

How big is a long-eared owl?

The size of a long-eared owl ranges between 13.8-15.7 in (35-40 cm). The wingspan measuring 39-39 in (90-100 cm) make up most of the length of this medium-sized bird species. They are slightly bigger than a barn owl and are four times smaller than a vulture.

How fast can a long-eared owl fly?

Although the exact flying speed of the long-eared owls is not known, they are fast flyers. This can be ascertained from the wide habitat range.

How much does a long-eared owl weigh?

The weight of the adult birds ranges between 7.8-15 oz (220-435 g). Females are heavier than males.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names assigned to the male and female long-eared owls.

What would you call a baby long-eared owl?

A young long-eared owl is known as a chick.

What do they eat?

The long-eared owl has an omnivorous diet. They prey mostly on small mammals like mice, kangaroo rats, juvenile rabbits, and shrews. They also hunt juvenile rats, small birds, snakes, insects as their food.

Are they dangerous?

The nocturnal long-eared owls are predatory by nature. Even in the darkness of the night, their vision is unmatched, aided with great auditory powers.

Although they haven't proven dangerous to humans, they can hurt you if you come in their way with their sharp claws. They are great prey catchers as they make thorough use of their sharp and bent claws and bent beak which helps in attacking, grasping, and tearing apart the prey for food.

Would they make a good pet?

One should refrain from petting them as they deserve to live free in the wild. Also, supplying food like small mammals and rodents can get difficult and messy at home.

Did you know...

An adult female long-eared owl is larger in size than the adult male.

They are found to be roosting in the winter season in groups of 2-20 owls marking their own territory.

Raccoons often attack the eggs of these birds laid on the nest atop trees.

Great horned owls, a subspecies of the long-eared owls, roost on taller trees and are larger in size than long-eared owls.

The ears are not so noticeable among young chicks.

As these birds are lazy, they recycle the nests of other birds to lay their eggs.

The nesting and breeding patterns of these owls vary from one to another. While some are migratory, others are territorial. Some become nomadic in winter who go out of their range to newer locations finding warmth among dense trees and sufficient food.

Why do long-eared owls have long ears?

It is assumed to be an extension of the feathers in an erectile position above the head. The long-eared owl, when compared to their neighboring species, the great horned owl, are smaller in size and their ear tufts placed closer than in great horned owl.

These ear tufts help them camouflage better and adjust well with their surroundings during times of threat. Also, the long ears keep their flight steady and balanced in the air.

Why is the North American long-eared owl darker than the European long-eared owl?

As an adaptation to the extreme winter temperatures of North America, the owls have a darker body color than the owls of Europe.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our red owl facts, or snowy owl facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable realistic owl coloring pages.

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Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

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Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

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