Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus). Photo: Seán Ronayne

Long-eared Owl is the most common of three resident owl species in Ireland and is characterized by two long-feathers, on the top of the head, resembling ears. The closely related Short-eared Owl has shorter “ears” and yellow eyes among other things. This species is also much rarer as a breeding bird, with the majority of birds arriving from the north, to spend the winter.

Long-eared Owls have a number of vocalisations, which we hope to record in time, but for now we have just one to share – the three note barking call of an unseen adult, passively-recorded in Cobh, Co Cork. This is an alarm call, but because nobody was present to witness this, it is not known why this vocalisation was given. Perhaps, it was disturbed by a passing mammalian predator, or maybe it was responding to the sight of an unwelcome conspecific.