Eastern Screech Owl


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Scientific Name:

  • Otus asio. Latin and Greek meaning “a kind of horned or eared owl.”


  • United States east past the Rocky Mountains and into northeastern Mexico.


  • Heavily wooded areas, wood lots, and wooded stretches of residential areas.
  • Will nest tree cavities, or nest boxes when available.


  • Mainly insects, small mammals, birds, crayfish, and earthworms.


  • Nocturnal hunters.
  • Screech owls are hunted by other birds of prey, like hawks and larger owls, so they are cryptically camouflaged to blend in with the trees in their habitat. This adaptation also makes it difficult for birders to find them. For this reason, they are usually identified by their sound.
  • This owl is tiny, but mighty. They have been known to dive at dogs, cats, and humans when defending their young.


  • Eastern screech owls can be found in two different color phases. Grey or reddish-brown.
  • Small in size, approximately 7-10 inches long.
  • Feather tufts, called plumicorns, on top of head.
  • Yellow eyes.
  • Call is a high pitched hoot, but will also make a trilling sound that sounds very similar to a horse whinnying.
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