Little owl — Athene noctua

A petite owl typically found in open landscapes like farmland dotted with hedges and scattered trees, orchards, open woodlands, and quarries. It stands out with its white-spotted upperparts and captivating yellow eyes framed by white brows, often adopting an alert posture with a frequently upright stance. This owl nests in tree hollows and rocky crevices. Occasionally, it is active during the day, quietly perching on posts or rocks, but it is primarily active from dusk to dawn. Its flight is characterized by a low, undulating pattern. Its vocalizations consist of an array of endearing squeaks and high-pitched hoots.

Photo: Look how gorgeous Little owl — Athene noctua

Description Little owl — Athene noctua

1800The Athene noctua,  commonly known as the little owl, is a small bird of prey belonging to the family Strigidae. It is widely distributed across Europe, Asia, and North Africa, with its range extending from the Iberian Peninsula in the west to China in the east and from Scandinavia in the north to the Mediterranean region in the south.

In Europe, the little owl is found in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, and other countries, while in Asia, it occurs in Turkey, Iran, India, and China. In North Africa, the little owl is present in countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

The species inhabits a variety of habitats, including farmland, grasslands, scrubland, open woodlands, and parks. Its adaptability to diverse environments has facilitated its expansion into urban and suburban areas, where it can be found nesting in buildings, barns, and hollow trees.

The little owl is a sedentary bird, meaning that it tends to remain in the same area throughout the year, although some individuals may undertake local movements. It is primarily nocturnal, being most active at dawn and dusk, but can also be observed hunting during the day, especially in cloudy or overcast conditions.

This owl species is characterized by its small size, measuring about 21-27 cm in length with a wingspan of approximately 54-58 cm. It has a distinctive appearance, with a rounded head, prominent yellow eyes, and a relatively short tail. The plumage of the little owl varies in coloration, but it typically features a mottled brown and buff pattern, providing effective camouflage against bark and foliage.

The diet of the little owl consists mainly of small mammals, such as voles, mice, and shrews, as well as insects, birds, and earthworms. It hunts by perching on a high vantage point and scanning the surrounding area for prey, before swooping down to capture its target with swift and precise movements.

In terms of vocalizations, the little owl produces a series of distinct calls, including a territorial hooting sound and a high-pitched trill, which are often used for communication between mates and during territorial disputes.

Overall, the Athene noctua, or little owl, is a widespread and adaptable species with a diverse range of distribution across Europe, Asia, and North Africa, showcasing its ability to thrive in a variety of environments and coexist with human activities.

Listen to them sing Little owl — Athene noctua

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