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Conservation status: Green

The long-eared owl is medium-sized owl, smaller in size than a woodpigeon. It often looks long and thin, with head feathers (known as ear tufts even though they are not ears) which it raises when alarmed. It is buff-brown with darker brown streaks, and deep orange eyes. It breeds thinly across the UK with fewer birds in the south-west and Wales. Northern birds migrate southwards, including birds from Europe coming to spend the winter in the UK, while southern birds are residents and only move short distances to find food.



Latin name

Asio otus


Owls (Strigidae)

Where to see them

It is nocturnal and secretive, so unlikely to be seen other than on migration (when birds may turn up on coasts at any time of day) or when leaving or returning to a communal roost site in winter.

When to see them

All year round.

What they eat

Small rodents, and small birds in winter.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-1,800-6,000 pairs--




Ante Strand, Xeno-canto