Short-eared Owl Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    Short-eared Owls are medium-sized owls with rounded heads. The "ears" mentioned in their name are difficult to see. The wings are broad and the tips are smoothly rounded. The tail is short.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Rock Pigeon; smaller than a Great Horned Owl.

    Relative Sizecrow sizedcrow-sized
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 13.4-16.9 in (34-43 cm)
      • Weight: 7.3-16.8 oz (206-475 g)
      • Wingspan: 33.5-40.5 in (85-103 cm)

Regional Differences

The pueo of Hawaii is a distinct subspecies of the Short-eared Owl that is native to the islands but similar in appearance to the North American subspecies. A buffier, less streaky form is native to the Caribbean and is a rare visitor to Florida.

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