European birds    Bird names   News   Family groups 1-26    Glossary    Plumage    Tips    Thumbnails    Gen. info    Credits    Photos for sale   
NON-PASSERINES     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10     11     12     13     14 15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     PASSERINES
Common names sorted alphabetically: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   V   W   Y  

13

Little Owl

(Athene noctua)
German name(s): "Steinkauz"
Size: 23-27.5 cm; wing span 55-60 cm
Weight: 105-260 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Little Owl at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "indigena"

This race is also called the "South-east European Little Owl".

ADULT

Sex unknown

Near-lateral view of an adult Little Owl at the entrance to its nest hollow (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a fledgling Little Owl on one of its first outings, still close to the nest hollow; this bird may not be able to fly yet (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

Race "vidalii"

This race is also called the "North-western Little Owl".

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of a Little Owl (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, August 2013]

Near-frontal view of a Little Owl (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, June 2015]

Near-lateral view of a Little Owl (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, January 2019]

Lateral view of a Little Owl looking at the observer (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, January 2019]

Lateral view of a Little Owl (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, August 2015]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Mar - June Eggs: 3 - 4 Incubation period: 29 - 31 days Fledging age: 7 - 9 weeks

Young Little Owls leave the nest at about 7 weeks of age, before they can fly (1-2 weeks later). They usually have one brood per season; only in times of abundance there can be two (in which case a pair's breeding season is much longer than usual).

Nest building: ? Incubation: Female Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

Type: Tree hollow, tunnel, crevace Material: N/A Height above ground: 1 - ? m

Little Owls do not line their nests.

Lateral view of an adult Little Owl at the entrance to its nest hollow looking at the observer (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

Eggs

Size: 36 x 30 mm Colour: Satin white Shape: Elliptical

Little Owls have a preference for earth worms, but will also take other small prey.

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

litowl_jp_20190704.m4a vidalii
(Portugal)
Alarm calls © JP

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.