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Conservation status: Introduced

This small owl was introduced to the UK in the 19th century. It can be seen in the daylight, usually perching on a tree branch, telegraph pole or rock. It will bob its head up and down when alarmed. In flight it has long, rounded wings, rapid wingbeats and flies with a slight undulation.

Breeding Bird Survey data suggest that Little owl numbers are declining, with the UK population estimated to be down by 24 per cent between 1995 and 2008.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Athene noctua

Family

Owls (Strigidae)

Where to see them

Found in England and Wales with a few in southern Scotland. It likes lowland farmland with hedges and copses, parkland and orchards. Most common in central, southern and south eastern England, and the Welsh borders.

When to see them

All year round, during the day. It hunts at night and dawn.

What they eat

Small mammals and birds, beetles and worms.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-5,700 pairs--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Tomas Belka, Xeno-canto

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