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Long Eared Owl

Irish: Ceann Cait
Latin: Asio otus

It has a slow and wavering flight and its wings are long and narrow. Dark brown above with black and grey streaks and bars. Buff patches on front underwing and outer upper wing.

Long-eared Owls hunt over open landscapes but nest and roost in deciduous woodlands and coniferous plantations.

Long-eared Owl feed predominantly on Field Mice. They also feed on House Mice, Brown Rats, Pygmy Shrews and birds including small passerines such as tits, Robins and finches. Beetles are also eaten and Bank Voles are taken within the Bank Vole range in the southwest of Ireland.

Uses old Hooded Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon or Sparrowhawk nests in woods and plantations. Occasionally will nest in holes in trees or on the ground. 4-6 eggs laid in March-April, incubation lasts 27-28 days and the young remain in the nest for 21-24 days.

By far the commonest owl in Ireland though it can be very elusive and difficult to locate away from its inconspicuous nest sites. It is estimated that Ireland may hold 1,000 -3,500 pairs of Long-eared Owl.