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Otus asio

Common Name: Eastern Screech-Owl
Otus asio
Otus asio

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Megascops
Species: Otus asio

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

The Eastern Screech-Owl is a small raptor, reaching up to 9 inches in length with a wingspan of 20 inches. They have streaked plumage that can be either red or gray. They have prominent ear tufts with yellow eyes and a yellow beak.

Habitat & Range

Eastern Screech-Owls occupy forest edges and open woodlands, nesting in tree cavities. They are widespread throughout the northeast and are commonly found in residential areas.


Eastern Screech-Owls are nocturnal, roosting in cavities throughout the day and hunting at night. Despite their name,these owls do not screech,instead they produce a distinct trill that sounds like the whinnying of a horse.

Life Cycle

The owls breed in decidious or mixed woodlands, nesting in natural tree cavities or woodpecker holes. Eggs are laid in clutches of 2-6, and are incubated for 27-34 days. Nestlings are born covered in white down, and are taken care of for 26-30 days, after which they fledge.

Featured Image by Wolfgang Wander.


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