Merlin Bird Graphic

Merlin Bird ID

Try our free app foriOS | AndroidWeb version coming soon!
Recently Viewed Species

    Short-eared Owl

    ID Info
    Silhouette OwlsOwls

    Short-eared Owl

    Asio 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 OwlRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore 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 Sabanero (Spanish)
    • Hibou des marais (French)
    • Cool Facts