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Conservation status: Amber

Short-eared owls are medium sized owls with mottled brown bodies, pale under-wings and yellow eyes. They are commonly seen hunting during the day. In winter, there is an influx of continental birds (from Scandinavia, Russia, Iceland) to northern, eastern, and parts of central southern England, especially around the coast. They are of European conservation concern and so are an Amber List species.



Latin name

Asio flammeus


Owls (Strigidae)

Where to see them

In the UK they breed primarily in Northern England and Scotland, but are seen more widely in winter. Short-eared owls are best looked for in winter on coastal marshes and wetlands. However, birdwatchers must be careful to avoid disturbance at communal roost sites.

When to see them

All year round

What they eat

Small mammals, especially voles.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-620-2,180 pairs5,000-50,000 birds-




Daniel Lane, Xeno-canto

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