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LONG ISLAND OWLS
Great Horned Owl
- Largest Owl seen on Long Island:  18-25 inches tall, wing span 48-60 inches
- Bright yellow eyes
- Long Feather ear tufts (horns)
- White bib or collar on throat
- Heavily barred breast
- In flight looks neckless, large head, hawklike
- Commonly called "hoot owl":  call is series of 3-8 hoots.  Can be heard for miles.
- Found in woodlands mostly, but also in parks & orchards, common on Long Island
Eastern Screech Owl
- One of smallest owls in east:  7-10 inches, wing span of 18-24 inches
- Two color phases (morphs):  red & gray
- Bright yellow eyes
- Only eastern owl with prominent ear tufts
- Heavy streaks on breast
- Cavity nester
- Call is mournful, descending whinny type call
- Found in woodlands, suburbs, parks & orchards, common on Long Island
Northern Saw-whet Owl
- Smallest owl found on Long Island:  7-8 inches tall, wing span 18-21 inches, weighing about 4 ounces
- Wide, rounded head with no tufts
- Bright yellow eyes
- Reddish brown with red/brown streaks on breast
- Black bill
- Juvenile is chocolate brown with white "v"  between eyes
- Call is mellowed, whistled, mechanical toot repeated in endless succession (8-100 times per minute).  Sounds like saw being sharpened
- Found in dense, deep woods.
Short-eared Owl
- Medium sized:  13-17 inches tall, wing span 39-44 inches
- Rounded head with small, hard to see ear tufts
- Bright yellow eyes emphasized by dark face disks
- Tawny colored with boldly streaked breast
- Mothlike flight, buffy wing patch shown in flight
- Call sneezy, raspy, high barking
- Found in marshes, dunes, airport edges, open country
Barred Owl
- Large owl:  16-23 inches tall, wing span 38-45 inches
- Large rounded "puffy-looking" head, no ear tufts
- Dark brown eyes
- Gray/Brown in color, whitish spots on back. 
- Barred pattern across chest, streaked lengthwise on belly
- Call usually series of hoots with last note sliding down in tone; ("who-cooks-for-you-all....")
- Found in deep woods  & swamps
Long-eared Owl
- Crow-sized:  13-16 inches tall, wing span 36-42 inches
- Long feathered ear tufts set close together
- Bright yellow eyes
- Slender in shape
- Rusty facial disk
- Underparts streaked lengthwise
- Call one or two long "hooo's", also catlike whine and doglike bark
- Found in deep woods, dense groves.  Hunts over marshes & fields
Snowy Owl
- Large owl:  21-28 inches tall, wing span 50-65 inches
- Smooth, heavy appearance
- Head rounded, no head tufts
- Bright yellow eyes
- Black beak
- Thickly feathered legs & feet
- Adult male almost all white, female has dark, heavy flecking
- Irruptive species, only seen every few years on LI
- Call is deep booming "hoo", but usually silent
- Found marshes, beaches, dunes, open country


Barn Owl
- Medium size:  14-20 inches tall, wing span 40-45 inches
- Often called "monkey-faced" owl due to white heart- shaped face. 
- Dark eyes, no head tufts
- Tawny, or golden, above with white or pale cinnamon below
- Flight is mothlike, appearing "ghost-like" at night due to white underparts, large head, broad wings
- Call shrill rasping hiss, and/or maniacal shriek
- Found in open country, farms, groves, barns
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Eastern Screech Owl
Photo by Cal Vornberger
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Great Horned Owl
copyright E.R.Degginger
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Short-eared Owll
copyright Jim Roetzel
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Long-eared Owll
copyright Ron Austing
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Barn Owll
copyright Anthony Mercieca
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Barred Owll
copyright Bob Curtis
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Snowy Owl
Photo by James Galletto
Back to Birds of Prey
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Saw-whet Owl
copyright Ron Austing
For more information on Owls, go to ENature.com