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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Long-eared Owl

Asio otus ORDER: STRIGIFORMES FAMILY: STRIGIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A bird of temperate forests, the Long-eared Owl roosts and nests in trees by day and hunts in open areas by night. Though widespread and relatively common in its range, it is rarely seen.

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Appearance

Owls
Owls
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized owl.
  • Mostly brown and cryptically marked.
  • Conspicuous "ear" tufts.
  • Orange facial disk.
  • White feathers form an X between eyes.

Immature Description

Similar to adult.

Range Map Help

Long-eared Owl Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

  • Adult

    Long-eared Owl

    Adult
    • Medium-sized, slender-bodied owl
    • Obvious, elongated "ear" tufts
    • Rufous/orange facial disc
    • Roosts during daytime in dense cover, often in conifers
    • © Anne Elliott, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, November 2010
  • Adult

    Long-eared Owl

    Adult
    • Medium-sized owl with prominent "ear" tufts
    • Slender appearance
    • Heavy barring on underparts
    • White "x" at center of face contrats with rufous facial disc
    • © Cameron Rognan, San Bernardino, California, October 2007
  • Adult

    Long-eared Owl

    Adult
    • Slender-bodied with obvious "ear" tufts
    • White "x" at center of face
    • Rufous/orange facial disc
    • Barred underparts
    • © Christian Hunold, John Heinz NWR, Pennsylvania, March 2011
  • Adult

    Long-eared Owl

    Adult
    • Medium-sized owl with obvious "ear" tufts
    • Slender-bodied, usually perched in vertical posture
    • Heavily patterned overall with barred underparts
    • Usually roosts in dense cover, sometimes colonially
    • © Ganesh Jayaraman, Mercy Hot Springs, Panoche Valley, California, December 2009
  • Adult

    Long-eared Owl

    Adult
    • Medium-sized, slender-bodied owl
    • Dark markings overall
    • Prominent "ear" tufts
    • Rufous/orange facial disc
    • © Tony Morris, Jaw Bone Canyon, Kern County, California, May 2006

Similar Species

  • Adult

    Great Horned Owl

    Adult
    • Much larger and heavier-bodied than Long-eared Owl
    • "Ear" tufts more widely spaced on head
    • Paler markings
    • © Kurt Kirchmeier, Saskatchewan, Canada, December 2011
  • Adult

    Short-eared Owl

    Adult
    • Much paler than Long-eared Owl, especially on face
    • "Ear" tufts very small, sometimes not visible
    • Perches conspicuously in open
    • No barring on underparts
    • © Michael J. Andersen, Freezeout Lake, Montana, June 2011

Similar Species

  • Great Horned Owl is similarly marked but is larger and more robust, with more widely spaced ear tufts.
  • Short-eared Owl is paler, with less prominent ear tufts, and no barring on the belly, but is very similar in flight.