Long-eared Owl

Asio otus

بومة طويلة الأذن

Status: Uncommon

Description: The arabic name ‘wood owl’ is derived perfectly from the way its spends most of its time in trees, only coming to the ground to feed.

Systematic (order, family): Strigiformes, Strigidae

Distribution in the country and worldwide This species is common in the Europe, Asia and north America. In Palestine it's a relatively common winterer in wood land and villages and a scarce breeder around pine and other large trees.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Habitat: Found within woodlands and open habitats such as sparse groves and agricultural fields.

Identification (how does it look like): Medium-sized nocturnal raptor that is often found roosting in dense vegetation where it is hard to find. Wings are long and narrow. Long-ear tufts are visible (especially during alert posture). Upper side is a cryptic plumage of oranges, blacks and greys so it can blend perfectly in to its habitat. Finely barred tail and orange facial disk. When flying a restricted yellow wing patch to the primaries contrasts with a dark carpal patch.

Behaviour: Food prey is mainly small mammals (rodents and shrews) and small songbirds.

Breeding/mating (season, how and where): A very recent breeder in Palestine, being first recorded 1969. Its nest is usually in an abandoned old crows nest. It lays 5-6 eggs and incubates them for 26-28 days. Nest in Palestine is usually old hooded crow nest.

Weight and size: Body Length: 35-40cm Wing Span: 86-98cm Weight: 185-365g

Threats and hazards: Finding suitable nests has been a problem in some areas but the placement of old wicker baskets by naturalists have been used successfully.

Similar species not to be confuse with: Short-eared Owl is a slightly larger owl with very small ear tufts and yellow eyes. Its plumage is more yellow with a larger wing patch.

Cool facts: The loud hoot of the male owl can be heard up to 1km away.