Little Owl

P1080003 (2)

General information

As their name suggests, Little Owls are small in size standing at around 20 cm tall. Their plumage is a grey brown speckled with white, and they have bright yellow eyes. Little Owls are crepuscular hunters finding their small prey at dawn and dusk. Often they can be seen sitting on fences or branches with a distinctive head bobbing action. Unlike other owls, they are known to eat plant material and berries as well as small birds, mammals and insects.

Little Owls were introduced into the UK in the 19th century and are now listed as a native species. Although they are not globally threatened, numbers in Europe have been decreasing over recent years. The reason is as yet unknown but thought to be due to intensive farming methods.

P1070973 (2)

Latin name - Athene noctua

Class - Aves

Order - Strigiformes

Family - Strigidae

IUCN Status - Least concern

Habitat - Open land with trees and bushes, parks, pastures,steppes, semi-deserts

Distribution - W.Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, to China and Manchuria

Average Lifespan

3 years in the wild. 10 years in captivity.

Intensive farming methods

Fun Fact

The Little Owl is often associated with the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena. Due to different countries' mythologies connecting the owl with wisdom, we now have the saying ‘Wise as an owl’ but they really are not all that wise!

Our Residents

The Little Owl pair, Nelson and Nellie, hatched two eggs in May 2020 and are currently living as a 'parliament' family group in the Barn Aviary just by the smaller play area/Gift Shop.

NFWP Lowerres 07945

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