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Long-eared Owl

Long-eared Owl, close to the nest, Co. Cork (Photo: Richard T. Mills)

Long-eared Owl Asio otus

Irish name Ceann cait.

Length 35–37cm.

Wingspan 85–96cm.

Estimated Irish breeding population Not known, but possibly 2,000 to 3,000 pairs.

Map of Long-eared Owl distribution in Ireland. Although widespread, the true status of the species in most of Ireland is unknown.

Habitat Woodland edges, conifer plantations and dense hedgerows, usually nesting in old crows nests. 

Diet Feeds mainly on small mammals such as mice, shrews, voles and rats and occasionally small birds.

Nesting season Middle of March to early May.

Eggs Usually lays four or five eggs, which are shiny white.

Incubation period 28 days, mainly by the female.

Fledging time About 30–32 days.

Number of broods reared each year one.

A Long-eared Owl nest, with an adult feeding a Brown Rat to two well-developed young (Photo: Richard T. Mills)

Have a look at the details of the other species in the Survey