Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image Orkney, Scotland
May 2003

The Short-eared Owl is distributed in northern Europe, Asia and North America as well as in the Caribbean and South America. It is an owl of fairly open country and is found where there is an abundance of small mammals such as voles and mice.

Short-eared Owl, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image It hunts both at day and at night and can be seen slowly flapping and gliding over open country looking for prey. It is a ground-dwelling bird and its nest is a scrape in the ground.

The wings of the Short-eared Owl are proportionately the longest of any European owl while its head is comparatively small and rounded. Its ear tufts are very small and rarely seen. The face is pale with distinct black patches round the yellow eyes. Its expression is often described as "mean".

It can look surprisingly pale and, in flight, the streaked breast contrasts with the unstreaked belly.

Short-eared Owl, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image
Short-eared Owl, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image
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