Bruce – Long-eared Owl
Received: February 2017
In February 2017, Bruce came to World Bird Sanctuary as a permanent resident. He had been hit by a car and taken to Ironside Bird Rescue in Cody, Wyoming. He sustained a wing injury from the accident that could not be stabilized, so he had to have a partial wing amputation.
Bruce is now an ambassador for his species and teaches visitors about Long-eared Owls.
Species: Long-eared Owl
Scientific Name: Asio otus
Description: Long-eared Owls are medium-sized, slender owls with long ear tufts. The head, roughly as wide as it is long, looks squarish. The facial disks are long and narrow. Long-eared Owls are fairly dark birds with buff or orange faces and intricate black, brown, and buff patterning on its feathers. The ear tufts are black with buff or orange fringes, the face has two vertical white lines between the eyes, and the eyes are yellow.
Sex: Female and male are similar in size and color.
Age: The oldest Long-eared Owl on record was at least 12 years.
Length: 13.8″ – 15.7″
Wingspan: 35.4″ – 39.4″
Weight: 7.8 – 15.3 oz
Habitat: Long-eared Owls roost in dense vegetation and forage in open grasslands or shrublands; also open coniferous or deciduous woodlands. They occur at elevations ranging from near sea level to above 6,500 feet. In Idaho, large numbers of Long-eared Owls nest in willows, cottonwoods, and junipers adjacent to shrubsteppe; in several western states these owls also often build their nests in brushy vegetation adjacent to open habitats.
Status: In Missouri, a Species of Conservation Concern.
Range: In addition to the North American and Eurasian populations, isolated groups of Long-eared Owls occur in North and East Africa, the Azores, and the Canary Islands.
Behavior: Long-eared owls typically reuse stick nests made by Magpies,crows and ravens. Nesting in Missouri is unlikely; there have been few reports within the past 20 years but they winter in Missouri from mid-November to mid-April. Outside of breeding season, the owls roost in groups of up to 100 birds. Long-eared owls usually form monogamous pairs.
Diet: Long-eared Owls eat mostly small mammals, including voles, many kinds of mice, kangaroo rats, shrews, pocket gophers, and young rats or rabbits. They hunt on the wing, coursing back and forth low above open ground. They may also hover over prey, or hunt from perches in strong winds.
Vocalization: The hoot of the male Long-eared Owl can sometimes be heard up to 1 kilometer (0.7 mi) away.
- Long-eared Owls are nimble flyers, with hearing so acute they can snatch prey in complete darkness.
- Long-eared Owls are strictly nocturnal and are highly secretive by day.