Long-eared Owl - Asio otus


The Long-eared Owl is medium-sized owl that often looks long and thin, with head feathers (known as ear tufts even though they are not ears) which are raises when alarmed. It is buff-brown with darker brown streaks, and deep orange eyes.

Identification difficulty

It is nocturnal and secretive, so unlikely to be seen other than on migration (when birds may turn up on coasts at any time of day) or when roosting, usually in dense thickets. Several birds may roost communally in winter.

When to see it

All year round

Life History

It breeds thinly across the UK. Feeds on small rodents and birds in winter.

UK Status

Widespread throughout Britain but with fewer birds in the south-west of England and Wales. Northern birds migrate southwards, including birds from Europe coming to spend the winter in the UK, while southern birds are residents and only move short distances to find food.

VC55 Status

Rare in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map