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Long-eared owl


Common name Long-eared owl
Scientific name Asio otus
Type Forest birds
Status Resident

Night bird of prey of medium size (about 35 cm or 14 in), with stylized and elegant appearance. Upperparts of ocher and rufous colour, dotted and with soft dark stripes. Lighter underparts, greyish in the tail area. Small adornment of white feathers on the face, in the form of "x", located between the bill and the eyes. Orange facial circle, just like the eyes. Rounded head with long, movable facial plumes (false ears). In flight there are long and narrow wings.


Woodland environments

Where it lives

Woodland species linked to islands and riverside forests, boundaries, groves and woods with scattered trees. It has a special preference for pine forests.

How it lives

Species resident in Malaga all year round. The province also hosts wintering individuals from the north. The Long-Eared Owl makes one annual laying of 3 to 6 eggs between February and March. It re-uses old nests of other raptors. Sometimes these are placed in holes of trees. This bird of prey captures invertebrates and small to medium mammals, from birds to rabbits. Strictly nocturnal habits. Solitary except in winter, when it usually clusters in roosts.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Species not as frequent in the province as other owls and quite localized. It can be watched in the regions of Antequera and northeast of the province, between Villanueva del Rosario, Antequera and Fuente de Piedra. There are also observations in the Sierra de Mijas and in the Montes de Málaga. In the Great Path it is present in stages 13, 18 and 32.

Curious facts

What are the false "ears" of the owls for? The facial plumes of this and other species of owls have no auditory function. Their usefulness is to break the bird's silhouette and mimic it among the branches of trees. In essence, it is the same thing that soldiers do in combat, when they paint their faces and place twigs in their helmets so that the enemy does not discover them easily.

Similar birds
Wintering Summer Resident Migration