Common Name

Scientific Name

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Jim Bailey, Utah Nature Photography
Photo Copyright Jim Bailey

The long-eared owl, Asio otus, occurs in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In North America, this bird breeds throughout much of Canada, the western United States, and the northeastern United States. The winter range of this owl is not well understood. Commonly, populations will remain within the breeding range through the winter, but studies have also revealed evidence of seasonal migration, with some birds appearing in southern Mexico during winter. This owl is found throughout Utah, especially where woodlands are bordered by fields or other open habitats.

The long-eared owl preys on a variety of rodents, often voles, but food items also include birds, bats, rabbits, and even lizards. Old stick nests built in trees by other birds, such as magpies, ravens, or hawks, are used by this owl. Usually three to five eggs are laid in March or April. The eggs are incubated by the female alone for 26 to 28 days. During this period, and for several weeks after the eggs hatch, the female relies upon the male to bring food to the nest. Owlets leave the nest three weeks after hatching and live in the trees surrounding the nest, but they are unable to fly until they are about 35 days old. When the young are eight or nine weeks old, they can fly well enough to begin hunting, but the male parent continues to feed the young until they are ten or eleven weeks old.


  • Marks, J. S., D. L. Evans, and D. W. Holt. 1994. Long-eared owl (Asio otus). Birds of North America 133: 24 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.