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Our Zoos will be closed for all-staff events on the following dates:
Tuesday, Feb. 7: Stone Zoo Closed  •  Thursday, Feb. 9: Franklin Park Zoo Closed
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Eastern Screech Owl

Otus asio

  • screech owl
  • screech owl
  • screech owl
  • screech owl
  • screech owl
  • screech owl
  • Eastern screech owl

About the Eastern Screech Owl

conservation status: least concern

Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Otus
Species: asio

Eastern screech owls have two color phases: gray and red. They have ear tufts that can be raised and lowered, and have yellowish beaks and eyes. Female owls lay three to four eggs over several days, and her young hatch at different times (asynchronous hatching) in tree cavities. These owls prefer to dwell in mixed woodlands, but may be found in all habitats under 1,500 feet. They are found in the eastern United States from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic and from southern Canada to southern Florida and Texas.

Eastern Screech Owl Facts

Appearance:
Eastern screech owls have two color phases: gray and red. Their backs and wings are mottled with either gray-white markings or red with white markings. They have ear tufts that can be raised and lowered, and have yellowish beaks and eyes. These owls have large feet, and feathers cover the legs and tops of their feet.
Size:
  • Length: 7-10 inches with a wingspan of 18–24 inches (females are larger than males)
  • Weight: 4–6 ounces
Reproduction:
Eastern screech owl breeding season occurs annually between March and April. Female owls lay three to four eggs over several days, meaning that the young hatch at different times (asynchronous hatching) in tree cavities. Females incubate their eggs for 26-30 days, while the male feeds the female. 
Median Life Expectancy:
Eastern screech owls live between three and eight years in the wild.
Habitat/Range:
These owls prefer mixed woodlands, but may be found in all habitats under 1,500 feet. They are found in the eastern United States from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic and from southern Canada to southern Florida and Texas.
Diet:
Eastern screech owls prey on invertebrates, small amphibians, mammals and reptiles.