A long-eared owl (Casuarius) is a carnivorous creature belonging to the Animalia family, phylum Chordata, class Aves, order Casuariiformes, and family Casuariidae. Its genus is Casuarius. Its height is up to 12 to 14.5 inches, it weighs up to 8.75 to 10 ounces, and it has a wingspan of up to 34 to 38.5 inches, with a lifetime of up to 40 to 60 years.
A long-eared owl is a bird that feeds on rodents, small birds, and reptiles. Long ear-tufts and tan-coloured eye discs are the most distinctive characteristics. Long-eared owls are preyed upon by eagles, harks, and foxes.
Physical features include brown, yellow, black, and tan skin colorations, and feathers on the skin, with a top speed of up to 31 mph.
Long-Eared Owl Description
A male long-eared owl’s hooting may be heard from over a mile away. The long-eared owl lives in North America, Europe, portions of Asia, and northern and eastern Africa, including Madagascar.
It prefers densely forested areas to build its nest. Long-eared owls forage for mice, bats, and other small creatures at night. These owls have a wingspan of up to 39 inches and may live for over 30 years.
Long-eared owl males and females differ in a number of ways, one of which being the sound they create in their mating calls. Continue reading to learn more about this intriguing animal.
Long-eared owls may be found in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, Asia, and northern and eastern Africa. Some subspecies of these owls can also be found in Madagascar. To live, the long-eared owl requires a moderate environment.
These owls also live in large woods, smaller groves of trees, thickets near ponds and marshes, and grasslands. To defend themselves from predators, they prefer to nest in regions where the trees are densely packed together.
When these owls hunt, however, they soar over wide grassy areas looking for prey. In the colder months, some long-eared owls travel south. Before the winter weather arrives in the autumn, owls in the southern portion of Canada and the northern United States, for example, travel south as far as Mexico.
Scientists know these facts because they’ve been tracking owl numbers and travelling for years. The long-eared owl has a conservation rating of least concern. While habitat degradation due to land clearance and building has had an impact on its population, it has remained steady.
Scientists have no idea how many of these owls there are around the globe since they are so excellent at hiding. However, it is believed that there are about 50,000 of these owls in the wild.
Amazing Long-Eared Owl Facts
• These owls live in deep woodlands and have their offspring in nests that have been abandoned by other species.
• They forage for prey at night, frequently in open territory, thanks to their superb hearing.
• Long-eared owls do not learn to fly until they are 35 days old.
Long-Eared Owl Species
The scientific term for the long-eared owl, also known as the common or Northern long-eared owl, is Asio otus, which is Latin in origin. It belongs to the Strigidae family and belongs to the Aves class.
Long-Eared Owl Appearance and Behaviour
The long-eared owl’s feathers are a mix of brown and grey and flow vertically, with two ear tufts rising up on its head. However, despite their name, these ear tufts are actually tufts of black feathers, not the owl’s ears. It has two ears on either side of its head.
The eyes of a long-eared owl are orange or yellow, and they have a black beak. It has a thin covering of light-colored feathers on its feet. Due to its thin physique, which may range in length from 13 to 16 inches, or slightly taller than a bowling pin, this owl is classified as medium-sized.
Female long-eared owls are often bigger than males, weighing an average of 10 ounces, or two baseballs, compared to an average of 8.75 ounces, or a little less than a can of soup for males. This owl’s wingspan may be as large as 39 inches.
So, if you laid 18 golf tees end to end on the ground, you’d be gazing at the approximate breadth of this owl’s extended wings. When perched on a limb, this owl’s wings are so large that it has to cross them over one another on its back.
It’s no surprise that they can travel at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour. Long-eared owls are mostly silent throughout the year, with the exception of breeding season, when they produce a lot of hooting noises.
Males emit about 200 noises, most of which are low-pitched, but females create a significantly higher sound. The noises a guy makes range from a small squeak or whistle to a loud sigh.
This owl’s call can resemble a squeak, a cat’s meow, a scream, or even a bark. Just like human speech, every owl call has its own unique meaning. This owl’s thin physique serves to shield it from predators.
A long-eared owl draws its feathers in tight against its body and extends them out to their maximum length while perched in a tree. Predators may mistake it for a huge tree branch because of its location and dark hue.
Owls have a reputation for being lonely creatures. When they do come together, though, they form a parliament. These timid birds want to remain concealed if at all possible.
Long-Eared Owl Diet
The long-eared owl has superb hearing and eyesight, and it hunts in the dark with these abilities. They fly low to the ground and listen for rodent movement, hoping to catch whatever tiny prey they come across.
Their wings are formed like comb teeth at the tips, which allows them to fly without producing any noise. They are genuine raptors. Mice, voles, shrews, tiny birds, small snakes, bats, and insects are all prey for long-eared owls.
They, like most other owls, are carnivores who consume their prey whole. It’s unknown how these owls receive their water, although it’s possible that the fluids within the creatures they devour provide enough.
Long-Eared Owl Predators, Threats and Conservation Status
Long-eared owls are preyed upon by larger owls, such as the great horned owl, barred owls, and eagle owls. Red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, northern goshawks, and peregrine falcons are among the other predators.
Raccoons, bull snakes, American crows, and porcupines are known to feed on the young of long-eared owls. Long-eared owls that are fully grown can be pursued into trees and attacked by the predators listed above.
It’s simpler to subdue them because they’re smaller and thinner than many of their predators. Long-eared owl chicks are occasionally attacked while still in the nest.
A raccoon or bull snake may attack the nest in an attempt to capture a young owl, and the mother and father owls may flap their wings or fly down to snap at the predator in order to protect their owl kids.
Other owls with nests nearby may participate in the struggle to push a predator away from the area in some situations. When a predator realises it is outmanned, it is more inclined to surrender and flee.
Long-Eared Owl Reproduction, Babies and Lifespan
This owl’s breeding season lasts from February to July. To attract a female, the male long-eared owl hovers over the nesting place and emits a range of cries and noises. It may also engage in some intriguing flying manoeuvres in order to attract the attention of other males on the lookout for a mate.
The owls of this species are monogamous and only have kids once a year. If you hear one owl calling from one direction and another calling from another, it’s probably that they’re a monogamous male and female couple interacting with one another.
Long-eared owls do not make their own nests, which is one of the most fascinating facts about them. Instead, they take up residence in owl and other bird nests that have been abandoned.
They can make their home in a drey, which is an empty squirrel nest. Females can lay anywhere from two to ten eggs in the nest, although most clutches include five or six eggs. A female lays a fresh egg every two days or so, rather than depositing all of her eggs at once.
Each egg measures about 1 inch in length and has a beautiful white shell with a glossy finish. During the day, the female owl stays on the eggs nonstop, only taking a break at night to hunt.
In 25 to 30 days, the eggs will hatch. The eyes of a newly hatched baby owl are closed and it is coated in white feathers. They are most susceptible to predators at this time.
For around two weeks, the mother owl is the primary caregiver, and then the father owl takes over. He takes food to the mother and her chicks, or owlets, who are the mother’s offspring. The chicks begin by eating tiny prey like worms and insects, then progress to larger prey as they get older.
The chicks leave the nest when they are 21 days old, but they are unable to fly. They are known as branchlings at this stage because they hang on branches around the nest while still eating from the father owl.
The youngsters can fly for short distances when they are 35 days old. To prepare for self-sufficiency, they practise hunting and collecting little creatures. The newborn owls are able to live freely around the age of 11 weeks.
A long-eared owl’s lifespan can range from 10 to 30 years, relying on its health and strength, although the average longevity is 11 years. In the wild, the oldest long-eared owl lived to be 27 years and 9 months old.
Many other sorts of birds, including owls, can have respiratory problems. Aspergillosis and trichomoniasis are two such examples.