Do you have an impetuous need to learn more about owls? Perhaps you would like to learn more about one of the most curious species in this family: the Short-Eared Owl. I’m sure you’ll be amazed.
Where do they live?
The long-eared owl, known in some areas as the short-eared owl, nuco or barn owl, is known by the scientific name of asio flammeus. It is one of the most active nocturnal birds of prey during the day.
It inhabits all continents of the planet, except Antarctica and Australia. They live in open areas, unworked herbaceous areas, marshes, crops, heaths and coastal marshes. Generally, whether they live in one area or another depends on the prey.
Could you recognize it when you see it?
It is 33 – 40 cm long, with the female being slightly larger than the male, a small identification that allows the detection of sexual dimorphism in the species. In terms of morphology, it is somewhat more stylised than other nocturnal birds of prey.
It is characterized by a small head, topped with small head tufts that break down the bird’s silhouette and reflect its state of alertness. The expression of its species is very characteristic, highlighting the yellow eyes, framed by black spots that give it a slightly masked appearance. In the color of its feathers, brown and yellow tones predominate in the dorsal regions and the lower part.
It is somewhat similar in appearance to the short-eared owl, but the truth is that this species has tufts on the top, even though they are small and hidden, which the long-eared owl lacks. In addition, the eye ring has a black stripe that marks each of your yellowish eyes. On the other hand, he’s slimmer than the kid.
A total of 10 subspecies are recognized:
- Asio flammeus bogotensis
- Asio flammeus domingensis
- Asio flammeus flammeus
- Asio flammeus galapagoensis
- Asio flammeus pallidicaudus
- Asio flammeus ponapensis
- Asio flammeus portoricensis
- Asio flammeus sandwichensis
- Asio flammeus sanfordi
- Asio flammeus suinda
The difference between each of the subspecies is found in a change in color pattern and a minimal difference in size. In the case of the Asio flammeus sandwichensis, this is considered a very important bird in Hawaiian mythology.
What is their life like in freedom?
The reason he is known as a field owl is because he nests and lives almost most of his life on the ground. When it comes to building its nest, which is an uncoated flattened area, it does so in grasslands and marshes. You can lay 4 to 8 eggs in each clutch. In some regions it can make up to two clutches per year. It has been found that in the years when rodents are abundant, they can lay up to 14 eggs.
For about 37 days, the female incubates the eggs, each chick being born a day or two apart. Their little ones cannot leave the nest until they have reached four weeks, although they are not able to fly until five weeks. The male watches near the nest and brings food to the family. To outwit predators, the eagle owl simulates a wing injury and then moves it away from the nest.
This species does not reach sexual maturity until it is one year old. In the northern zone, reproduction takes place between March and June, and is delayed until the beginning of April at the latest.
It is a much more diurnal bird than the rest of the owls, but above all it hunts at night. Its technique consists of a slow and very low flight, allowing itself to fall on the prey in a silent way. Sometimes you can watch the prey from an innkeeper to wait for the perfect moment to attack it. It mainly feeds on rodents, but if these are scarce, it can consume other small mammals such as rabbits, reptiles and some large insects. It may even feed on small birds.
It is a species capable of adapting to new environments with ease, but it has certain limits that it cannot support. Due to the changes that its population has suffered due to the destruction of its habitat, this has been reduced by 3.5% in the last decade. In many areas where this bird lives there are strong conservation attempts, trying not to let people settle near the places where these owls live so that they are not forced to move to a new territory.