Belongs to: owls

Compare with: short-eared owl

Long-eared owl Asio otus

Best time to see: Oct to Mar

Key facts

Medium-sized owl of mostly conifer wood and heathland

Habitat: forests, woods and heaths

Resident, although patchily distributed; probably about a dozen pairs breeding in Essex


Buff and dark streaked owl, with ear tufts, pale orange facial disk, and orange eyes; 35 cm

Secretive, nocturnal species, sitting motionless in dense cover during the day

Eats small mammals


In courtship the male claps its wings together then jumps up into the air

Nests in an old nest in a tree, such as a crow's nest; one brood of 4-5 white eggs, February to May

Tawny owls drive out this smaller species from their territories, and sometimes even kill them

© Bill Varney