Wednesday 23rd August 2017
Species Guide
Little Owl - Athene noctua


The Little Owl is found in Europe, Asia Minor, Arabia, Central and East Asia, China and parts of North Africa.

The female lays from three to five eggs in May. Incubation is 22 to 29 days and the young leave the nest at 35 days and are flying well at 46 days.

Little Owls are fairly common locally but like most of our owls have been in decline for a number of years.

The Little Owl is the smallest of our native species and was introduced to this country from Europe during the late nineteenth century.

The Little Owl can be seen during the day sitting on a fence post, although it prefers to hunt at dusk and during the night. They will often land in a field behind the plough in search of worms. Their main diet consists of beetles, worms, moths, small birds and some small mammals.

Little Owls hunt mainly by sitting on a post or branch and can look very comical when they bob their heads up and down looking at the ground.

The Little Owl is usually a grey colour with pale spots and white freckling. They have large eyebrows and yellow eyes; this gives them a very fierce expression. They have broad, rounded wings and fly very quickly with swooping undulations, especially when they attract the attention of small birds who will mob the Owl to try and drive it away.

The male Little Owl can weigh as little as four ounces, but because of it's thick, soft feathers looks a lot bigger.

Little Owls have a loud call that can be heard quite a distance away and it is not as recognisable as the Barn Owl's or the Tawny's.

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