Little Owl, Athene noctua


Short description of Athene noctua, Little Owl

This owl is little more than half the height of the familiar tawny owl. The upperparts are brown, spotted with white, and the breast is whitish with heavy brown streaking. Low white brows and staring yellow eyes create a characteristically fierce expression. Flight is fast and deeply undulating.

Description of Athene noctua, Little Owl status in GB

The little owl has a well-established population throughout England, though absent now from the far southwest, and in parts of lowland Wales. There are rare records for the Scottish Borders.

Habitat summary: Athene noctua, Little Owl

The little owl is essentially a bird of farmland, where it reaches highest density in lowland areas with many old trees. Tree holes provide most nest sites but the species can nest also in deserted buildings and in rabbit holes.

Overview table

Environment: Terrestrial
Species status: Non-Native
Native range: Europe, Asia-Temperate, Northern Africa, Northeast Tropical Africa
Functional type: Predator
Status in England: Non-Native
Status in Scotland: Non-Native
Status in Wales: Non-Native
Location of first record: Walton Hall, Yorkshire
Date of first record: 1842

Distribution map

GB Distribution from NBN Atlas

Author's name:

John Marchant

Last updated:

May 21st, 2014

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Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark