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Little owl


Common name Little owl
Scientific name Athene noctua
Type Farmland birds
Status Resident

Night raptor of small size (about 23 cm or 9 in) and plump appearance. It is characterized by a large rounded head and lacking cephalic plumes ("owl ears"). Plumage of dark brown and greyish colour with white mottles. Breast and ventral area clearer than the back but also mottled. Striking white eyebrows and big yellow eyes. Short tail and rounded wings. Oscillating flight.


Cultivated areas

Where it lives

Although it occupies many types of habitats, it prefers open and partly wooded spaces. Present in grasslands, olive groves, crops, wastelands, borders of plots with hedges, buildings, farmhouses and even within villages and small cities.

How it lives

Species resident all year round in the province. Although it is a night raptor, it has daylight habits and it is easy to see on poles or piles of stones. It breeds at the end of March and makes an annual laying of 3 to 5 eggs. Nest in cavities. Very variable feeding and depending on the availability of prey. It captures from small mammals to little birds, amphibians, small reptiles or insects.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Frequent and common bird in Malaga. It can be observed in many places. A curious case, for example, is the roofs of houses near the Rueda Alameda Square in Ronda. In the Great Path it is present in stages 2, 7, 8, 14, 17, 18, 22, 27, 28 and 33.

Curious facts

When you hear a cat meow at dusk in an olive grove probably the little owls are greeting each other since, as a Spanish saying goes, "each owl has its olive tree". These birds emit different sounds, some very similar to the meows of a cat. Something very characteristic is that when you see them perched and they feel observed they shrink, crouching and standing several times.

Similar birds
Wintering Summer Resident Migration