Short-eared Owls

Types of Owls in Tennessee (with Pictures)

Only trustworthy sources and an Ornithologist were consulted to provide this information.

There are many different types of owls that can be found in Tennessee. Some of these include the barred owl, the great horned owl, and the eastern screech owl. Each of these owls has its own unique characteristics and habits. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at each of these species and learn more about their habits and habitats.

Most Common Owls in Tennessee

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl is one of the most common owls in North America, and it can be found throughout Tennessee. These large birds have distinctive ear tufts, which are actually feathers, and yellow eyes.

They are mostly brown with white streaks on their belly, and they have a wingspan of up to five feet. Great Horned Owls are powerful hunters, and they will eat just about anything they can catch, including skunks and rabbits.

These owls are mostly nocturnal, but they can sometimes be seen hunting during the day.

eastern screech owl

Eastern Screech Owls

There are several ways to identify an Eastern Screech Owl. One way is by their call. The males and females have different calls, with the male having a higher-pitched trill and the female’s being lower and deeper in tone.

Another way to identify them is by their size and coloring. They are one of the smaller owls, with a body length of about nine inches and a wingspan of around two feet.

Their coloring can be either gray or reddish, with streaks or bars of darker color on their breast.

Eastern Screech Owls are found in wooded areas across the eastern United States and parts of Canada.

In Tennessee, they are most commonly found in the eastern and middle parts of the state. They prefer to nest in tree cavities, and will often use man-made nesting boxes.

Eastern Screech Owls are mainly nocturnal, but can sometimes be seen hunting during the day.

Their diet consists mostly of small mammals and insects, which they capture by swooping down from a perch. These owls are relatively quiet and can be easily overlooked, but they are interesting and beneficial animals to have around.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

The Barred Owl is a native owl to North America and can be found in many different habitats including forests, swamps, and even urban areas. These owls are large birds with round heads and no ear tufts.

They have dark brown eyes and their plumage is primarily brown with white bars on the chest and belly. The barred owl is one of the most common owls in Tennessee and can be found throughout the state.

These owls are mostly nocturnal but can also be seen hunting during the day. They hunt by perching on a high point and watching for prey below. When they see something, they will swoop down and grab it with their powerful talons.

Barred owls primarily eat small mammals such as mice and voles but will also eat birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.

If you are lucky enough to see a barred owl in the wild, you will likely hear them before you see them. These owls have a very distinctive call that sounds like “who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks-for-you-all”.

If you hear this call, look up into the trees and you may just spot one of these beautiful birds.

American Barn Owls

American Barn Owls

These owls are medium-sized with a wingspan of about three feet. They have white feathers on their face and chest with brown streaks on their back. Their belly is light-colored with dark spots. Barn owls are nocturnal predators and hunt small mammals such as rodents and rabbits.

They can be found in open areas like fields and meadows. In Tennessee, they are most common in the eastern and middle parts of the state.

To identify a barn owl, look for these characteristics:

  • White feathers on the face and chest
  • Brown streaks on the back
  • Light colored belly with dark spots
  • Medium sized with a wingspan of about three feet
  • Nocturnal predator that hunts small mammals such as rodents and rabbits
  • Can be found in open areas like fields and meadows
Short-eared Owls

Short-eared Owls

Short-eared Owls are medium-sized owls with long, pointed wings and round head. They have large eyes and ear tufts. The facial disk is white with a black border. The bill is black.

The upperparts are brown with white spots. The underparts are white with brown streaks. Short-eared Owls hunt during the day and at night. They fly low over the ground, looking for prey such as voles, mice, and other small mammals. Short-eared Owls nest on the ground in open areas.

The female lays three to seven eggs in a cup-shaped nest made of grasses and twigs. Both parents help to raise the young. Short-eared Owls are found in open areas such as fields, meadows, and marshes. In Tennessee, they can be found in the eastern and western parts of the state.

Look for them in the winter when they are more likely to be seen during the day. If you see an owl hunting during the day, it is probably a Short-eared Owl.

long-eared owls

Related post: Types of Owls in South Carolina

Long-eared Owls

Long-eared owls are one of the most distinctive and beautiful owl species in North America. These nocturnal predators are characterized by their long, ear-like tufts of feathers, which give them their name.

They also have bright yellow eyes and a striking facial disk that is marked with black and white streaks. In-flight, their long wings and tail make them look larger than they really are.

While they can be found in a variety of habitats, Long-eared owls prefer to nest and hunt in dense forests. In Tennessee, these owls are most commonly found in the Appalachian Mountains. Because they are so well camouflaged, they can be difficult to spot.

However, their distinctive call is a sure way to identify them. Long-eared owls make a series of soft hooting sounds that often sound like they are laughing.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Northern Saw-Wheat Owl

The Northern Saw-Wheat Owl is a medium-sized owl with a round head and no ear tufts. It has yellow eyes and a black beak. The body is white with brown streaks.

The wings are long and rounded. The tail is short and square. This owl is found in open woods, meadows, and fields in northern North America.

It hunts at night for small mammals, birds, and insects. The Northern Saw-Wheat Owl nests in tree cavities. It lays three to six white eggs.

The female incubates the eggs for about 28 days. The young owls leave the nest after about 40 days.

snowy owl

Snowy Owl

The Snowy Owl is a large, white owl of the typical owl family. Females are almost pure white, while males have more flecks of black plumage. Immature owls are heavily barred and streaked brown and white.

The Snowy Owl is one of the heaviest members of its family, but has very long wings and can fly close to the ground, making it an agile hunter. It preys chiefly on lemmings and other small rodents but will take any mammal it can find, as well as birds up to the size of ptarmigans.

The Snowy Owl is a generally silent owl. When it does vocalize, its calls are generally simple, monosyllabic hoots, the female’s being harsher than the male’s.

Like most owls, Snowy Owls are nocturnal hunters. They will also hunt during the day, particularly in winter when they may be the only predators active.

The Snowy Owl is one of the world’s most nomadic birds, and its population fluctuates greatly from year to year. It is an irruptive species, meaning that it may suddenly appear in large numbers far outside its normal range.

In North America, this often occurs south of its breeding grounds when lemming populations crash. Snowy Owls typically nest on the ground in a well-hidden location, such as among rocks or in a clump of grass.

The female lays between two and eleven eggs, which she incubates for about a month. When the owlets hatch, they are covered in white down and cannot fly. They grow rapidly, however, and are able to hunt on their own after only a few weeks.

What is the most common owl in Tennessee?

The most common owl in Tennessee is the Short-eared Owl. These owls are found in open habitats such as fields, meadows, and marshes. In Tennessee, they can be found in the eastern and western parts of the state. Look for them in the winter when they are more likely to be seen during the day.

Are owls good to have around your house?

Yes, owls are good to have around your house because they help control pests. Owls eat rodents, snakes, and insects. They also help keep the population of these pests under control. If you have an owl around your house, you will not need to worry about as many pests.

Where do owls live in Tennessee?

Owls live in a variety of habitats in Tennessee. They can be found in forests, meadows, and even marshes. The most common owl in Tennessee is the Short-eared Owl. These owls are found in open habitats such as fields, meadows, and marshes.