Saturday, 20 November 2010

Little owl

Athene noctua

Common name:

Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

The little owl is a resident species in most of the temperate and warmer parts of Europe, Asia and north Africa. They were introduced in Great Britain and New Zealand.

This small owl is 23-27,5 cm long and has a wingspan of 50-56 cm. Females tend to be slightly larger than males. Males weigh between 140-180 g while females weigh between 150-200 g.

this is a sedentary species which is found in open habitats, mainly mixed farmland and parkland. In many parts of their range they use steppe and agricultural pseudo-steppe habitats.

They mostly feed on insects, earthworms and amphibians. They also hunt small mammals and birds. Unlike most owls, little owls are often seen hunting during the day.

The nests are found in holes in trees, rocks, cliffs, river banks, wall, buildings and owl nest boxes. Egg laying takes place in April-May, and they lay 3-5 eggs which are incubated solely by the female for 28-29 days. The chicks fledge 26 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
With a population estimated at 5-15 million and an extremely large breeding range, this species is not threatened at present.

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