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Did you know that there are 14 different types of owls in Alabama? While all owls are considered raptors, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some owls are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, while others are as large as a dinner plate! In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of owls that can be found in Alabama. We will provide pictures and descriptions of each owl, so that you can learn more about these fascinating creatures!
Most Common Owls in Alabama
Northern Saw-Whet Owl
The Northern Saw-whet Owl is one of the smallest owls in North America, and is a resident of northern woods. It has large eyes and a round head with no ear tufts.
The upperparts are brown with white spots, while the underparts are pale with heavy brown streaks. This owl gets its name from the “to-wit to-woo” sound of its call.
The Northern Saw-whet Owl can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, and even urban areas. It is most active at night, when it hunts for small mammals such as mice and shrews. This owl typically nests in tree cavities or nest boxes.
To attract a mate, the male Northern Saw-whet Owl performs a courtship display that involves bowing, calling, and offering gifts of food.
American Barn Owl
The American Barn Owl is a large owl with a round head and no ear tufts. It has a white face with black eyes and a dark brown body. The wings are long and curved, and the tail is short. The legs are yellow-orange. This owl is about 16 inches long with a wingspan of up to 42 inches.
The American Barn Owl is found in woodlands, grasslands, and agricultural areas. It nests in trees, on cliffs, or in man-made structures such as barns and silos.
This owl hunts at night for small mammals such as mice and voles. It flies low to the ground and uses its sharp claws and beak to kill its prey.
If you see an American Barn Owl, you can tell it apart from other owls by its distinctive call. It makes a long, low-pitched “hoo” sound. You might also see this owl hunting during the day if there is not enough food at night.
If you find an American Barn Owl nest, you can see that it is made of sticks and lined with leaves.
Great Horned Owls
Great Horned Owls are one of the most widespread owl species in North America, and they can be found in a variety of habitats. In Alabama, these owls are most commonly found in wooded areas near streams or rivers. Great Horned Owls are large birds, with a wingspan that can reach up to five feet!
They have a distinctive appearance, with large yellow eyes and ear tufts that give them a “horned” look. These owls are also known for their loud, deep hoots.
If you’re lucky enough to spot a Great Horned Owl in the wild, you might see it hunting during the day or at night. These owls are fierce predators, and they will eat just about anything they can catch – from small mammals to reptiles and even other birds.
Great Horned Owls are interesting birds to watch, and they are a great addition to any Alabama birding list!
To identify a Long-eared Owls in Alabama, look for their distinctive long ear tufts. These ear tufts may be erect or flattened against the head. The facial disk is also fairly prominent, and the eyes are yellow. The bill is black and the legs and feet are grey.
The upperparts of this owl are brown with heavy dark streaks, while the underparts are lighter with some dark streaking. Juvenile Long-eared Owls are similar to adults but they tend to be more heavily streaked overall.
This owl is found in a variety of habitats including forests, woodlands, and even deserts. It often perches on an exposed branch or pole where it can scan the area for prey.
The Long-eared Owl hunts primarily at night, but it will also hunt during the day if necessary. Its diet consists of small mammals such as mice, voles, and shrews.
The Barred Owl is a large owl with a round head and no ear tufts. It has dark eyes and a yellow bill. The upperparts are gray with brown bars and the underparts are pale with heavy brown streaks.
The wings are long and rounded. The tail is short and square. This owl perches in trees and hunts small mammals and birds. It nests in tree cavities.
The Barred Owl is found in woodlands across North America. In Alabama, it is most common in the southern part of the state. Look for it in hardwood forests, especially near streams and swamps. This owl is active at night, so look and listen for it after sunset.
You may see it perched on a tree branch or hunting over open fields. During the day, it roosts in trees, often near the trunk. It can be difficult to spot because it blends in with its surroundings.
If you’re lucky enough to see a Barred Owl, you’ll notice that it has distinctive markings. The barred pattern on its chest and belly help to camouflage it in the trees.
This owl is also known for its loud, hooting call. It sounds like “who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks-for-you-all.” Listen for this call at night, when the Barred Owl is most active.
The Barn Owl is a medium-sized owl with a round head and no ear tufts. It has a white face with black eyes and a black beak. The upperparts are brown or greyish-brown, and the underparts are pale with dark streaks.
This owl has long, pointed wings and silent flight. It hunts over open country for small mammals, such as mice and voles.
In Alabama, the Barn Owl is found in woodlands, farmland, and urban areas. It nests in tree cavities, cliffs, and buildings.
This owl roosts during the day and hunts at night. You are most likely to see it flying low over fields or woods, or perched on a fence post or tree branch.
Related article: Types of Owls in Wisconsin
Short-eared owls are one of the most widespread owl species in North America, but they are also one of the most difficult to see. These elusive birds are most active at dawn and dusk, when they can be seen hunting over open fields and meadows.
Short-eared owls are relatively small owls, with males averaging about 13 inches in length and females about 15 inches.
They have yellow-orange eyes and mottled brown plumage, which provides excellent camouflage against their natural habitat of grasslands and other open areas.
When hunting, short-eared owls use a technique called “still-hunting,” in which they perch on a low branch or fence post and wait for prey to come within range.
They will also actively search for prey by flying low over the ground, using their excellent hearing to locate rodents and other small animals. Short-eared owls are found throughout Alabama, though they are most common in the northern and central parts of the state.
Burrowing owls are small, long-legged owls with large heads and no ear tufts. They get their name from their habit of nesting and roosting in burrows, such as those abandoned by prairie dogs. Burrowing owls are found throughout North and South America.
In Alabama, burrowing owls are found in the southern and eastern parts of the state. They prefer open areas with short grass, such as pastures, golf courses, and airports. Burrowing owls are most active at dawn and dusk.
To identify a burrowing owl, look for its characteristic upright stance and long legs.
Burrowing owls are generally brown or gray in color, with white spots on their chests. They have yellow eyes and beaks, and black talons.
When looking for burrowing owls, keep an eye out for their behaviors as well. Burrowing owls are generally diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.
However, they may also be seen hunting at night. Burrowing owls typically hunt from a perch, but they will also fly low over the ground to catch prey.
Eastern Screech Owls
They are small owls, with a body length of about nine inches and a wingspan of about two feet. They have large heads and eyes, and their plumage is mottled gray or brown. Their call is a distinctive trill, often described as “whee-oo, whee-oo.”
Eastern Screech Owl is found in forests throughout the eastern United States. In Alabama, they are most commonly found in the southern part of the state.
They are primarily nocturnal, but can also be seen hunting during the day. They hunt by perching on a branch and waiting for prey to come within range, then swooping down to capture it. Their diet consists primarily of small mammals such as mice and shrews, but they will also eat birds, reptiles, and insects.
Are owls common in Alabama?
Yes, owls are common in Alabama. There are three main types of owls found in the state: barn owls, short-eared owls, and burrowing owls.
What’s the biggest owl in Alabama?
The biggest owl in Alabama is the barn owl. Barn owls are found in woodlands, farmland, and urban areas. They nest in tree cavities, cliffs, and buildings.
What kind of owls are in Alabama?
The Northern Saw-Whet Owl is the most common owl in Alabama. This owl gets its name from the fact that it has a saw-like facial disc. The American Barn Owl is the second most common owl in Alabama. This owl is easily recognizable by its white, heart-shaped face. The Great Horned Owls are the largest owls in Alabama. These owls get their name from the two tufts of feathers on their head, which look like horns.