Long eared owl

Long-eared Owl

(Asio otus)

N.H. Conservation Status: Not listed

State Rank Status: No data for N.H. Population trend is unknown.

Distribution: Has occurred throughout N.H. Rare and secretive. No recent breeding records. 

Description: Up to 16” in length with up to 40” wingspan. Body color is a mixture of black, brown and off-white, face is rusty-orange colored face, and overall they are slender bodied with long black ear tufts with rusty orange fringes.  

Voice: Males typically are only vocal during the breeding season and give a series of 10 or more slow and steady “whoo” notes every 2-4 seconds that can be heard almost a mile away. Both sexes make a “barking” call.

Commonly Confused Species: Great horned owls are larger in size and fuller bodied; short eared owls have much shorter ears that may not always be visible.

Habitat: Dense coniferous or mixed forests for roosting and nesting located near open areas such as fields or sparsely forested areas for feeding.

Nesting: Typically lay their eggs in a stick nest built in trees by other species. Females incubate 2-10 eggs for up to 30 days. Young are born with their eyes closed, covered in white down, and will stay in the nest for up to 3 weeks.

Diet: Primarily small mammals but will occasionally prey on small birds or reptiles.


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NH Fish and Game Dept.
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Concord, NH 03301

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