Northern Spotted Owls

Types of Owls in Oregon (with Pictures)

Did you know that there are 19 different types of owls that can be found in Oregon? These amazing creatures come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and each one has its own unique set of characteristics. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at some of the most common owl species in our state. We’ll discuss what they eat, where they live, and how you can tell them apart. So if you’re interested in learning more about these fascinating animals, keep reading!

The data was acquired only from reputable sources and independently verified by an Ornithologist.

Most Common Owls in Oregon

Northern Spotted Owls

Northern Spotted Owls

The Northern Spotted Owl is a dark-colored owl with white spots on its head, back, and underparts. It has a round head with no ear tufts, yellow eyes, and a hooked bill. This owl is about 18 inches tall and has a wingspan of about 42 inches.

The Northern Spotted Owl primarily eats small mammals, such as squirrels, mice, and voles. It will also eat birds, reptiles, and insects.

The Northern Spotted Owl typically nests in trees near streams or other bodies of water. It will also nest in old-growth forests with large trees. This owl is mostly active at night. During the day, it roosts in trees or on the ground.

The Northern Spotted Owl is found in forests throughout Oregon. It is most common in the Cascade Mountains and along the coast. This owl is also found in eastern Oregon, as well as in the Klamath and Siskiyou mountains.

long-eared owls

Long-eared Owl

The long-eared owl is a medium-sized owl with ear tufts. It has yellow eyes and a white face with black streaks. The body is brown with white spots. The wings are brown with white bars. The tail is brown with white stripes. Females and males look alike. Juveniles have grayish-brown plumage with white spots.

Long-eared owls are found in woodlands, forests and open country with trees. They nest in tree cavities, old crow nests or on ledges. Long-eared owls hunt at night for small mammals such as mice, voles and shrews. They also eat birds, reptiles and insects.

Long-eared owls are 17-19 inches (43-48 cm) long. They have a wingspan of 39-41 inches (99-104 cm). Males and females weigh the same, about 12 ounces (340 grams).

Great-Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl

The Great Gray Owl is a massive owl of the Northern Hemisphere. It has a large, round head with no ear tufts, and yellow eyes rimmed with black. The upperparts are gray with white spots, while the underparts are pale gray or white.

This owl ranges in size from 27 to 33 inches long and has a wingspan of up to 60 inches.

The Great Gray Owl is found in the boreal forests of North America, where it hunts small mammals such as voles and mice. It typically nests in old trees near streams or wetlands.

These owls are relatively sedentary, meaning they do not move around much, but may travel long distances in search of food. Great Gray Owls are mostly active at night, but can also be seen hunting during the day.

Northern-Pygmy Owls

Northern Pygmy Owl

The Northern Pygmy Owl is a small owl measuring around seven inches in length. It has a round head with no ear tufts and yellow eyes. The upperparts of this owl are brown with white spots, while the underparts are mostly white with some brown bars. Its diet consists mainly of small rodents and birds.

This owl is found in forests, woodlands, and mountain areas. It nests in tree cavities or old woodpecker holes, and will often take over the nest of another bird species. The Northern Pygmy Owl is mostly active during the day, although it may also hunt at night. This owl does not migrate and can be found in Oregon all year round.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is a small owl measuring about 200-250 mm in length with a wingspan of 500-600 mm. The underparts are light brown with heavy streaks while the upperparts are dark brown with lighter streaks. The head is round and lacks ear tufts. It has bright yellow eyes and a black beak.

This owl is found in North America, in coniferous or mixed forests. It hunts from a perch, looking for small mammals such as mice and voles which make up the majority of its diet. It will also eat birds, reptiles and insects.

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is nocturnal and is most active at night. It roosts during the day, often in a coniferous tree. It is a non-migratory owl, meaning it will stay in its territory throughout the year.

snowy owl

Snowy Owls

Snowy Owl Scientific Name: Bubo scandiacus

The Snowy Owl is a large, white owl of the typical owl family. Males are almost all white, while females have more flecks of black plumage. Juvenile owls are heavily barred with dark brown and light gray.

These beautiful birds stand about two feet tall and have a wingspan of up to five feet, making them one of the largest owls in North America.

Snowy Owls are opportunistic hunters and will eat a wide variety of prey, including rodents, rabbits, ducks, geese and other birds. They typically hunt from a perch or while flying low over the ground, capturing their prey with their sharp talons.

These owls are well-adapted to their Arctic habitat, with thick feathers that insulate them from the cold and help them blend in with their snowy surroundings.

During the summer months, Snowy Owls can be found in the Arctic tundra where they breed. In winter, they sometimes venture south into northern states like Oregon in search of food.

barred owl

Barred Owl

The Barred Owl is a large bird, with a wingspan of up to four feet. It has a dark brown or gray body, with whitish bars on its chest and belly. Its head is round, with large, dark eyes.

This owl is found in forests across North America. These owls in Oregon are most commonly found in the coastal forests of the western part of the state. It typically nests in trees, but will also use man-made structures such as nest boxes.

The diet of the Barred Owl consists mostly of small mammals, such as mice and voles. It will also eat birds, reptiles, and insects.

This owl is mostly active at night, but can also be seen during the day. During the breeding season, it is often heard calling out its distinctive “who-cooks-for-you” call.

Barred Owls are a species of special concern in Oregon due to their declining population numbers. Forest habitat loss and fragmentation are thought to be the primary reasons for this decline.

flammulated owl

Flammulated Owl

Flammulated Owls are small owls, measuring around 20 cm in length and weighing only 60-70 grams. They have long, narrow wings and relatively short tails. Their plumage is overall light brown with dark streaks, and they have pale facial discs surrounding their dark eyes.

These owls inhabit coniferous forests in the western United States, where they nest in tree cavities. Their diet consists mainly of small insects such as moths and beetles.

Flammulated Owls are relatively sedentary, remaining in the same general area throughout the year. However, they may make short-distance movements in response to changes in food availability.

During the winter, they may roost singly or in pairs in tree cavities, often using the same roost site for several years.

These owls are most active at dawn and dusk, when they can be seen hunting from a perch or flying low over the forest floor in search of prey. When not breeding, Flammulated Owls are generally found alone or in pairs. However, during the breeding season, they may form small groups of up to six owls.

long-eared owls

Long-eared Owls

Long-eared Owls are found in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. They get their name from their long ear tufts, which are actually feathers. These owls have a round heads with yellow eyes.

The males and females look alike, but the female is usually larger than the male. Long-eared Owls can range in size from 11 to 25 inches long and can weigh anywhere from 15 to 48 ounces.

Their diet consists mainly of small mammals, such as voles, mice, shrews, and rabbits. They will also eat birds, reptiles, and insects.

Long-eared Owls hunt at night by perching on a tree or pole and waiting for their prey to come close. They will also swoop down and catch their prey in mid-air.

Long-eared Owls live in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, forests, meadows, and even deserts. They nest in tree cavities or on ledges. These owls are mostly active at night, but they may also be seen during the day. During the winter, they are often found in flocks.

Boreal Owl

Boreal Owl

The Boreal Owl is a medium-sized owl with a round head and no ear tufts. It has large, dark eyes and a whitish face with heavy black streaks. The upperparts are brownish-gray with white spots, while the underparts are pale with heavy streaking.

The wings are long and rounded, and the tail is relatively short. The legs and feet are covered in feathers.

This owl occurs in coniferous and mixed forests of North America. These owls in Oregon are found in the Cascade Range and along the east side of the state. The Boreal Owl nests in tree cavities, nest boxes, or on ledges. It feeds primarily on small mammals and birds.

The Boreal Owl is a relatively silent owl, with the male giving a short hoot and the female giving a softer, longer call. When alarmed, this owl will hiss or click its bill. It also will sometimes give a loud screech.

Boreal Owls are nocturnal hunters. They use their excellent hearing to locate prey, and then they pounce on it. This owl will also eat carrion. When hunting from a perch, the Boreal Owl will sometimes drop down onto its prey. It also may hover in the air to snatch insects out of the air.

The Boreal Owl typically mates for life. The breeding season usually occurs between May and July. During this time, the male will give a hooting call to attract a mate. Once paired, the pair will sing a duet.

The female will lay two to six eggs in a nest lined with feathers and down. Both parents help to incubate the eggs, which hatch after about 28 to 32 days. The young owls fledge (leave the nest) at about seven weeks of age.

northern-hawk owl

Northern Hawk Owl

Northern Hawk Owl Scientific Name: Surnia ulula

The Northern Hawk Owl is a medium-sized owl. Adults are about 18 inches long and have a wingspan of about three feet. They are brownish-gray with white spots on their back and breast. The face is pale with dark streaks.

These owls hunt during the day and perch on high branches or poles, watching for prey below. They eat mostly small mammals such as voles, lemmings, and mice.

Northern Hawk Owls live in forests near the edge of the tree line in North America. These owls in Oregon are found in the Cascade Mountains. These owls do not build their own nests. Instead, they use abandoned nests of other birds such as hawks, crows, and squirrels.

Northern Hawk Owls are solitary birds except during the breeding season. Both the male and female will help to raise the young. The average lifespan of a Northern Hawk Owl is about seven years.

Western-Screech Owl

Western Screech-Owl

The Western Screech-Owl is a small owl with large, ear-tufts. It has a round head and no facial disc. The upperparts are grayish brown, heavily streaked with white. The underparts are pale, with heavy brown streaks on the breast and sides. It has yellow eyes and a black beak. The feet are covered in feathers.

The Western Screech-Owl eats mostly small mammals, such as mice and voles. It also eats birds, reptiles, and insects.

The Western Screech-Owl is about 20 cm long and weighs about 80 grams.

The Western Screech-Owl lives in forests, woodlands, and urban areas. It nests in tree cavities.

The Western Screech-Owl is nocturnal. It perches on a branch during the day, waiting for prey to come within range. When hunting, it uses its sharp claws and beak to kill its prey. It also uses camouflage to blend in with its surroundings. When alarmed, it will hiss and click its beak.

barn owl

Barn Owl

The Barn Owl is a medium-sized owl with a large, rounded head and no ear tufts. Its upperparts are pale brown with dark streaks, while its underparts are white with heavy brown spotting. It has a black beak, dark eyes, and long legs that are feathered all the way down to the toes.

Its call is a long, eerie screech.

Barn Owls are found in open country with some trees or scattered buildings nearby. They nest in tree cavities, cliffs, and old buildings.

These owls hunt primarily at night, using their excellent hearing to locate small mammals such as mice and voles moving about in the grass. They also eat birds, reptiles, and insects.

Barn Owls typically hunt from a perch, but they will also fly low over the ground in search of prey. When hunting, they sometimes hover in the air for a few seconds before swooping down to capture their victim. After killing their prey with their sharp talons, they swallow it whole.

Interesting facts:

  • The Barn Owl is the most widespread land bird in the world, with a range that extends from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.
  • These owls are sometimes called “monkey-faced owls” because of their facial disc, which is shaped like a monkey’s face.
  • Unlike most other owls, Barn Owls do not hoot. Instead, they make a variety of loud, harsh sounds such as hisses, screams, and barks.
  • Barn Owls are one of the few owl species that are active during the day as well as at night.
  • The Barn Owl has been featured on coins, stamps, and paintings throughout history. It is also the official state bird of Massachusetts.
Burrowing Owls

Burrowing Owls

Burrowing owls are small, long-legged owls with around heads and no ear tufts. They have large eyes and a hooked beak.

Their plumage is brown or gray with white spots. Females and young birds are generally lighter in color than males.

Burrowing owls can be found in open areas with short vegetation, such as grasslands, deserts, and agricultural fields.

They nest and roost in burrows, which they either dig themselves or use abandoned by other animals.

Burrowing owls hunt during the day and night. Their diet consists of small mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects.

When hunting, they perch on a low vantage point and watch for prey. When they see their prey, they swoop down and capture it with their talons.

Burrowing owls are monogamous and mate for life. The female lays anywhere from two to twelve eggs in a clutch.

Both parents help incubate the eggs, which hatch after about a month. The young owls fledge (grow their feathers) after about seven weeks.

The average lifespan of a burrowing owl is six to eight years, but some individuals have been known to live up to thirteen years in captivity.

Short-eared Owls

Short-eared Owls

Short-eared owls are a medium-sized owl. They have a wingspan of about 16 to 20 inches. The males and females look similar with their mottled brown and white plumage. They have large yellow eyes and a black beak. Their call sounds like a long trill “keew, keew, keew”.

These owls are found in open habitats such as fields, meadows, and marshes. In Oregon, they can be found east of the Cascades. They hunt during the day and at dawn or dusk. They eat small mammals such as voles, shrews, and lemmings.

To attract a mate, the male will do an aerial display. He will fly high in the air and then dive down with his wings held close to his body. He may also give a “booming” call while flying. The nesting season is from April to May. The female will build the nest on the ground, usually in a clump of grass.

She will lay three to seven eggs. Both parents will help to incubate the eggs for about 28 days. The young owls will stay with their parents until they are ready to mate and have their own territory.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl is a large owl with a round head and prominent ear tufts. It has a large, powerful beak and strong talons. The Great Horned Owl is found in woodlands, forests and open country across North and South America. It feeds on small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

The Great Horned Owl is a large owl, measuring between 18 and 25 inches in length. It has a wingspan of up to 60 inches. The Great Horned Owl is brown or gray with white streaks on its chest and belly. It has yellow eyes and a black beak.

The Great Horned Owl nests in trees, using sticks and leaves to build a nest platform. It lays two to four eggs, which hatch after about 30 days. The young owls fledge at about eight weeks of age.

The Great Horned Owl is a nocturnal hunter, using its sharp eyesight and hearing to locate prey. It will also perch in trees and on fence posts, waiting to pounce on its prey. The Great Horned Owl typically eats small mammals, such as squirrels, rabbits and mice. It will also eat birds, reptiles and amphibians.

The Great Horned Owl is found in woodlands, forests and open country across North and South America. In Oregon, it is found in the Willamette Valley, east of the Cascade Mountains. It is also found in the Klamath Basin and along the coast. The Great Horned Owl is a year-round resident of Oregon.

eastern screech owl

Eastern Screech-Owl

The Eastern Screech-Owl is a small owl found in eastern North America. It is a member of the genus Megascops and is closely related to the western screech-owl and northern saw-whet owl. These birds are easily distinguished from other owls by their size, coloration, and ear tufts.

Adults have gray or rufous-brown upperparts with fine streaks and bars. The underparts are light with heavy streaking. There is a conspicuous white crescent on the breast. The facial disk is pale with a dark rim and black around the eyes. ear tufts are prominent. Eyes are yellow to orange-brown. The bill is black. Legs and feet are brown.

The Eastern Screech-Owl ranges in length from 20 to 25 cm (about to inches) and wingspan from 38 to 50 cm (about 15 to 20 inches). It typically weighs between 80 and 170 g (about and ounces). The female is slightly larger than the male.

The Eastern Screech-Owl is found in a variety of habitats including deciduous and mixed forests, woodlands, urban parks, and even suburbs. It is also found in swamps, marshes, and agricultural areas. These owls are most active at night but can sometimes be seen during the day.

What does it mean when you see an owl?

Some people believe that seeing an owl is a sign of bad news or death. However, different cultures have different beliefs about owls. In some cultures, owls are seen as helpful creatures that can guide people through difficult times.

In most cases, seeing an owl is just a matter of coincidence. If you see an owl, it might be a sign that you should pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of what is going on around you. Alternatively, it could just be a beautiful bird that you were lucky enough to see.

What are the most common owls in Oregon?

The most common owls are the Northern Spotted Owls, Long-eared Owls, Great Gray Owls, and the Northern Pygmy-Owls.