Breeding birds: 620 – 2,180 pairs
Short-eared owls are medium-sized and fairly bulky. They have mottled brown and buff upperparts and pale buff underparts streaked with honey-brown. Their large, broad wings are buff with brown spots and bars. There is a light ochre patch and black patch on their underwings.
Short-eared owls have large, rounded heads with short ear tufts. Their facial discs are pale grey with black surrounding their eyes. Their chins and foreheads are white.
Short-eared owls have black bills, yellow eyes, and white feathered legs and feet.
Females are larger than males and they are browner and more heavily streaked.
Juvenile short-eared owls have darker crowns and rumps, brown facial discs, and buff underparts.
Short-eared owls nest in a scrape in the ground. Females build the nest which is lined with grass and feathers.
Short-eared owls lay 4-10 white eggs which are incubated for 24-29 days mostly by the female. Chicks can leave the nest at around 12 days old and reach sexual maturity at a year.
Short-eared owls are nocturnal hunting at night. They eat mainly small mammals such as voles, mice, squirrels, rats, bats, shrews, and rabbits. They will also catch small birds.
Short-eared owls breed in northern England and Scotland, but are seen more widely in winter. Look for them on coastal marshes and wetlands.
Short-eared owls begin calling while they are still inside the egg. It is a high-pitched sound which becomes lower in pitch at around 7 days old.
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