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LONG-EARED OWL } Asio otus

RANGE: North America, Eurasia, and northern Africa

STATUS: The long-eared owl is considered Common. It may be Critically Imperiled in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, and in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Canada. Listed as a Species of Special Concern in California. Rare in Uzbekistan and Slovakia.

THREATS: Destruction of lowland riparian woodland, road kills, shooting, and harassment

The long-eared owl’s striking plumage makes it a solid candidate for “Best in Show.” This owl is widely distributed in North America, Eurasia, and northern Africa and likes open woodlands, forest edges, riparian canopy, hedgerows, juniper thickets, woodlots, and wooded ravines and gullies. Long-eared owls congregate in large groups: during winter, they may roost communally in groups of seven to 50 owls, and communal roost sites are often used year after year —probably by the same birds. This owl is rather common and widespread in many regions, and the global population is estimated to be 120,000 birds, but many regional populations are imperiled.

Photo © Glen Tepke