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  • Writer's pictureCarl Mckie

Little owls in Berkshire

Introduction

Little owls (Athene noctua) are small, stocky owls that are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. They were introduced to the UK in the late 19th century and have since become a widespread and familiar species. Little owls are known for their distinctive appearance, their vocal calls, and their habit of hunting during the day.

Little owl, Athena noctua, fledgeling, resting in old broken window
Little owl, Athena noctua, fledgeling

Little owls Physical Characteristics

Little owls are about the size of a pigeon, with a wingspan of about 30 inches. They have a round head, large eyes, and a short, hooked beak. Their plumage is a mottled brown and white, which helps them to blend in with their surroundings.

Diet

Little owls are insectivores, and their diet consists mainly of small mammals, such as mice and voles. They will also eat birds, bats, reptiles, and amphibians. Little owls hunt by sitting on a perch and scanning the ground for prey. When they see a potential meal, they will swoop down and grab it with their sharp talons.

Little owl, Athena noctua,Adult in the rain
Little owl, Athena noctua,

Habitat

Little owls prefer open habitats with some trees or shrubs, such as farmland, parks, and gardens. They will also nest in woodlands, hedgerows, and even in urban areas.

Behavior

Little owls are active during the day and at night. They are solitary birds, but they will sometimes gather in small groups at communal roosts. Little owls are monogamous, and they mate for life. The female lays between 4 and 7 eggs, which hatch after about 28 days. The young owls fledge after about 30 days.



Additional Information

  • Here are some other interesting facts about little owls:

    • They have excellent hearing and can detect prey from up to 100 feet away.

    • They can turn their heads almost 180 degrees.

    • They mate for life and often remain together even after the young have fledged.

    • Little owls are very adaptable and can live in a variety of habitats, including urban areas.

Little owl, Athena noctua, fledgelings, resting in old broken window
Little owl, Athena noctua, fledgelings



I hope you enjoyed this blog post about little owls in the UK. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

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