Short-eared Owl: Medium owl, light and dark brown mottled upperparts and dark-streaked, pale buff underparts. Head has large, round, pale buff facial disk with fine, brown tinges, black around eyes, and small ear tufts. Eyes are yellow and bill is black. Flight is erratic with flopping wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Short-eared Owl: Occurs on every continent except Australia and Antarctica; prefers open spaces such as grasslands, prairies, agricultural fields, salt marshes, estuaries, mountain meadows, and tundra.
The Short-eared Owl has a large range, estimated globally at 10,000,000 square kilometers. Native to Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and a number of island nations and territories, this bird prefers grassland and wetland ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 2,400,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Short-eared Owl is Least Concern.
The Short-eared Owl was first described in 1763 by Danish bishop and amateur naturalist, Erich Ludvigsen Pontoppidan. They have also been called the Evening Owl, Marsh Owl Bog Owl, Grass Owl, Meadow Owl, Mouse-hawk, and Flat-faced Owl.
Males perform aerial displays in courtship by rising quickly with rhythmic and exaggerated wing beats, gliding down, and rising again, often 200 to 400 meters high. The flight may end with a spectacular descent where the male hold his wings aloft and drops rapidly toward the ground.
Their conservation depends on protecting relatively large, open sites that support small rodents. Abandoned agricultural land quickly becomes unsuitable for these owls because they either become woodlands or are replaced by development.
A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a "bazaar", "glaring", "parliament", "stooping", and "wisdom" of owls.