Short-eared Owl

Photo by Bob Gress


Common Name: Short-eared Owl

Scientific Name: Asio flammeus


Length: 15 - 16 inches
Wingspread: 41 - 42 inches
Weight: 10 - 12 ounces


Comments: The ear tufts on the short-eared owl are rather inconspicuous and not always noticed. Short-eared owls usually nest on the ground in prairies, hay fields and grain stubble. In recent years they have been found in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) planted grasslands. They are often seen hunting over grasslands with a slow, buoyant, floppy flight interspersed with glides. In flight they can be confused with northern harriers. They are rather diurnal and can often be seen hunting during mornings and late afternoons.

Distribution: Short-eared owls nest in very small numbers in Kansas. It is an irregular winter resident where it occurs in native prairies and grasslands.

Food: Mice, especially voles, make up almost the entire diet of the short-eared owl. With hungry young owls in the nest adults will occasionally capture small birds.