Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)
Long-eared Owl Information & Facts
The long-eared owl is common throughout Europe except for the most northern parts.
Length: 34 cm.
Wingspan: 85 to 90 cm. The male and female have like plumage.
Voice: During the courting season a penetrating ’00-00-00′, also semi-whistling sounds.
Size of Egg: 35.0—44.7 X 28.0—34.5 mm. The eggs are pure white.
Long-eared Owl Habitat
It occurs chiefly in small conifer and mixed woods, as well as in field groves, large parks and overgrown gardens. It is faithful to its breeding grounds but many birds, especially inhabitants of northerly regions, sometimes form groups that travel southwest in winter, staying in places where field mice are plentiful, these being the mainstay of the long-eared owl’s diet.
Nesting & Breeding
At the end of March or in April it lays its eggs in the abandoned nests of crows, raptors, jays or the dreys of squirrels, adding only slight variations of its own. The hen incubates the 4 to 6 eggs herself for 27 to 28 days, beginning as soon as the first is laid, and so the young hatch successively. The male brings food for his partner and also the nestlings, but these are fed only by the hen. The male often stands beside the nest and claps his wings against his body with a sharp crack, thus revealing its location.
The long-eared owl hunts only after dusk, concealing itself in the thick branches of spruce, pine and other trees during the daytime. Pressed motionless against a branch it often looks like a broken stump, escaping detection by all except an experienced ornithologist. Besides rodents, the long-eared owl hunts small birds and, when the young are being fed, it also captures countless insects, including such harmful pests as chafers. The young leave the nest at the age of 21 to 26 days and perch on neighboring branches.