The long-eared owl may be found in many areas of Britain and Ireland, but it is not common and, being nocturnal, it is rarely seen.



Long-eared owls begin to breed from late February onwards. These owls are usually silent, but during courtship the birds clap their wings and make strange-sounding wailing and yelping noises. A low, sighing "oo-oo-oo" may also be heard!

Three to eight white eggs are laid in an old nest belonging to a crow or a pigeon, but sometimes they are laid on the ground in a scrape under a tree or amongst heather on moorland. The female incubates the eggs for 25 - 30 days. The newly-hatched chicks are rounded in shape and covered in a thick, white down. The male bird brings voles, mice and birds to the nest and the female feeds these to the babies. The owlets' down is gradually replaced by adult feathers and they fledge (ready to fly) at 23 or 24 days old.

If the nest is threatened by a possible predator, one of the adults tries to frighten it off by drooping its wings and puffing up its back feathers to frame its head. This makes the bird appear much larger than it really is.

Read More: Long-Eared Owl and Humans

Related Resources

Please donate £5 to help YPTE to continue its work of inspiring young people to look after our world.

Donate £5 X