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Eastern Screech Owl

Scientific name: Otus asio

This small nocturnal owl camouflages well with its surroundings. You are much more likely to hear its call than to see it. Like the great horned owl, it has yellow eyes and ear tufts, but it is quite slender and about the same size as a crow. The quavering trill which ascends and then descends in pitch is the hallmark of the screech owl. They are thought to hunt primarily based on sight. Scroll down to listen to this interesting vocalization, and watch the video to learn more about this small but mighty predator.

Photo Credit: Missouri Department of Conservation


less than 6 ounces


7-10 inches

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This small owl eats small prey such as worms, insects and other invertebrates. Mammals like mice, squirrels and rabbits are also part of its diet.


This bird is quite versatile. It may inhabit forests, thickets, and wetlands. It does not migrate. As long as there are cavities for nesting, (even in crates or woodpiles) the screech owl will call it home. Its varied diet and unfussy nesting habits, along with their lack of fear of humans, have made this a breed secure in its numbers.

Ecosystem Connections

This owl will use cavities created by other birds and animals to nest.

More Interesting Facts

  • This owl has two distinct color phases, red-brown and grey
  • Will store food for up to four days
  • You may even see one at your bird bath!

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