EASTERN SCREECH OWL

Megascops asio

EASTERN SCREECH OWL FACTS:

A small, grayish owl with small ear tufts, yellow eyes, and greenish-yellow beak

Males: usually gray, but sometimes occurring in a rufus (reddish) morph; bold chest markings

Females: similar to male

Young: gray or grayish-brown with less distinct markings on chest; inconspicuous ear tufts

OTHER NAMES:

 

Common Screech Owl


FAMILY: Strigidae


CLOSEST RELATIVE:

 

Western Screech Owl, Whiskered Screech Owl

EASTERN SCREECH OWL SIZE:

Height: Males 16-24 cm (6.3-9.4 in), Females 18-24 cm (7.1-9.4 in)

Weight: Males 166g (5.85 oz), Females 194g (6.84 oz)

Wingspan Both: 48-61 cm (18.9-24.0 in)

EASTERN SCREECH OWL RANGE:

East of the Rocky Mountains, from southern Canada south into Mexico


EASTERN SCREECH OWL HABITAT:

 

Deciduous forests, riparian areas, parks, suburban areas

EASTERN SCREECH OWL DIET:

Extremely varied: insects, earthworms, crayfish, amphibians, reptiles, small birds, small mammals

EASTERN SCREECH OWL VOICE:

Unique vocalizations: screeches, barks, hoots, rasps, chuckles, whinnies

Males:  quavering, low pitched descending trill, series of quavering whistles

Females: higher pitched; often duets with male

EASTERN SCREECH OWL NESTING:

Nest Site: tree cavities, hollow trunks, stumps; also nest boxes, mail boxes, porch columns

Eggs: usually 3-4, sometimes up to 7 eggs

Incubation: 26 days

EASTERN SCREECH OWL HUNTING HABITS:

Nocturnal, often crepuscular, occasionally diurnal; hunts from tree perch, captures prey with feet, often kills prey on ground and eats head first before caching the body
 

EASTERN SCREECH OWL CONSERVATION STATUS: 

Not globally threatened; widespread and common

EASTERN SCREECH OWL DISTRIBUTION IN NORTH AMERICA

Maps provided by The Birds of North America Online and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Eastern Screech Owl - Denver Holt
00:00 / 00:00

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 

This is the species that gave the Screech Owls their name. Not only do Eastern Screech Owls screech, they also bark, hoot, rasp, chuckle, and whinny. Their quavering, low-pitched trill has been described as “haunting” and is often used to “set the mood” in television and movie night scenes.

 

Once thought to be one in the same, the differing voices of the Eastern and Western Screech Owls is one reason scientists now classify them as two distinct species. Look closely and you will also notice subtle differences in the appearance of these two owls. Eastern Screech Owls have prominant dark brown vertical and horizontal markings on their chest and belly. Western Screech Owls have these markings, but in a more subtle way. The beak of the Eastern Screech is a pale greenish- yellow, while the Western Screech Owls bill is dark gray.

 

Though the two owls’ range may overlap slightly, the Rocky Mountains seem to be the dividing line that separates them. Eastern Screech Owls live in a variety of habitats in the east, and eat a variety of foods; in fact their diet is the most varied of any North American owl.

 

These owls will prey on most anything that runs, flies, wriggles, or swims, including earthworms, crayfish, insects, birds, and mice. As you can see, the Eastern Screech Owl is one unique bird!

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PHOTO CREDIT

 

We are so grateful to the photographers who capture owls, and our work, in the most amazing ways. They generously share their work with us, and you. Check out the works of some of the photographers whose work is featured on our site! They are incredible talented artists who are committed to wildlife conservation.

Thank you to:

Kurt Lindsay: https://kurtlindsay.smugmug.com/Nebulosa/i-7D8Wh9d

Daniel J Cox: http://naturalexposures.com

Radd Icenoggle: https://www.flickr.com/photos/radley521

Melissa Groo: https://www.melissagroo.com

Ly Dang: https://www.nature2pixels.com

Tom Murphy: https://www.tmurphywild.com/

Deborah Hanson

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