Long-Eared Owl

Long Eared Owl

General information

This owl is of smaller size with orange eyes and long tufts on top of the head. These are not actually part of the owl's ears despite their name and the common misuse of the phrase 'ear tufts' when describing the feather tufts of owls. They are actually better described as more like expressive eyebrows!

The Long-eared Owl is thinly spread throughout the UK and is seldom spotted due to its incredibly camouflaged plumage. Their population is approximately 1,800-6,000 pairs, however, this is a vast difference due to the declining numbers. The main issue, as for much of our birds of prey in the UK, is road traffic, deforestation and habitat loss and use of pesticides and rodenticides.

It is mainly a crepuscular bird hunting for small mammals, in particular, mice and voles.

The breeding season begins from February onwards and the pair will choose to nest in conifer trees, using a hollow or old disused nest. The female will lay 2 to 10 eggs with a 1 to 2 day interval.

The male feeds the female as she incubates the eggs for 25 to 30 days. By the end of August the young are independent of the parents but are not sexually mature until the end of their first year.

360112284 10161259543053023 7340506580675879584 N

Latin name - Asio otus

Class - Aves

Order - Strigiformes

Family - Strigidae

IUCN Status - Least concern

Habitat - Forest, Shrublands, Grasslands and inland wetlands

Distribution - Across Eurasia & North America


4 years in the wild. 10 years in captivity


Vehicle collisions, deforestation, habitat loss and use of pesticides and rodenticides.

Fun Fact

Unusual call – a haunting deep hoot repeated every 2 to 3 seconds. Up to 200 vocalisations have been recorded for this amazingly elusive owl!

Our Resident

We currently have one Long Eared Owl called Twil in the first aviary near the Gift Shop.

She was hatched in April 2017 at the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey, joining us in June 2017. Twil is a delightful little character and often rather cheeky at weighing time for the Keepers! 

NFWP Lowerres 07945

Sign up to our newsletter

Join our mailing list in order to keep up to date with park news and special offers.