Do you like learning new things about birds every day? Well, be careful, because today you’re going to discover something new about a very particular bird. It’s about nothing less than the long-eared owl.
Where does this bird live?
The long-eared owl is scientifically called asio otus. The truth is that this bird is large in size within its family.
This species is endemic to North America and some Central American countries. They can be found especially in British Columbia, Mexico and West Virginia. Although in recent years it has lost a lot of ground. Some specimens can also be found in southern and central Europe.
Is it that big?
The truth is that it is a large owl that can measure between 35-37 cm in length. Females are usually one-third larger than males, but it is not something that can be detected much in sight but is an expert in this species.
The reason why it is called “long” in some countries is because the ears are prominent. They are quite thin compared to other species of owls. The colour of their feathers is brown, with a little orange and grey and white spots on the chest areas. The colour scheme may vary according to where they live, so that they can have a camouflage around to hunt their prey and hide from predators.
Some may mistake it for the eagle owl, although it may be thinner and larger, but the color pattern may be similar. It has large tufts on the head that look like ears, with the ventral part cream-colored and striped. The eyes are orange or red, with grey tips on the wings. Her tail has unmarked stripes and some dark spots on her wrists.
Anything else I can learn about this species?
Many people are afraid to see the long-eared owl fly, as its movements are similar to those of a butterfly. The sounds it makes repeatedly can be annoying to humans living in the same area as them, and can be heard more than half a mile from the point of origin.
As their main food source, they usually eat mice, but they also feed on bats, squirrels, birds, insects and snakes. They are excellent hunters, who usually hunt at night, and can find different types of food in a single night. Despite the darkness surrounding their territory, they rarely have trouble finding food. Come back low, which helps make it easier for you to get to your prey. They flap their wings silently, so their weights don’t hear them until they’re almost on top of them.
Although they are quite solitary birds, during the mating season the male and female live in the same nest until their chicks are old enough to leave it. The female can lay up to 3 to 8 eggs at a time, which are then incubated by her for 25 days. The male will be the one who brings food for the female during incubation. When the chicks are born, they are cared for by both of them and do not leave the nest until they are one month old.
As a general rule, their life expectancy in the wild is about 27 years, one of the longest in the owl species. In captivity, specimens have been seen that have lived to be 30 years old.
Due to the large decline in numbers, in the United States they are a species considered to be in a “threatened” state. For this reason, its territory has been established as a protected natural habitat, and an attempt has been made to encourage the reproduction of the specimens.
It can be kept perfectly as a pet, being a loving and affable bird. However, because of the annoying sound it makes, many people prefer to look for another owl that is a little quieter.