FWS Focus


The short-eared owl is an owl of about 0.7 to 0.8 lbs with females slightly larger in size than males. Plumage is brown, buff, white and rust colors. Patches of brown and buff occur mostly on the back side, while the underside is colored more lightly, being mostly white. Females and males have similar plumage. Some distinguishing characteristics of this owl are its gray white fascial disk, and black coloring around yellow eyes. Juveniles have similar plumage to adults, but upper parts and head are darker in color, and the fascial features of the adult are often lacking with fascial disc being almost entirely black (Wiggins et al. 2006).


  • Fitzgerald, J.A., D.N. Pashley, and B. Pardo. 1999. Partners in Flight Bird Conservation Plan for the Northern Mixed-grass Prairie (Physiographic Area 37).
  • Hagen, S. K., P. T. Isakson, and S. R. Dyke. 2005. North Dakota Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Bismark, ND. 454 pp
  • Wiggins, D. A., D. W. Holt and S. M. Leasure. 2006. Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/062

Scientific Name

Asio flammeus
Common Name
Short-eared Owl
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree


Identification Numbers



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