7 Stunning Species Of Owls In Florida: You Must Know

Owls In Florida

Each species has its own characteristics that contribute to the balance of nature and improve our surroundings.

Florida owls play an important role in rodent management, avoiding enormous infestations of mice, rats, and squirrels.

Owls that are smaller eat insects. Throughout Florida, owl populations are being increased to help with rodent biological control.

Owls in FloridaLengthWeightIdentification(Color)Diet/Favorite Food
Barn Owl12.6-15.8 in (32-40 cm)14.1-24.7 oz (400-700 g)This owl has an overall pale color with dark eyes. They have white on the face, body, and underwings.They mostly feed on rodents.
Eastern-screech Owl6.3-9.8 in (16-25 cm)4.3-8.6 oz (121-244 g)This owl is either mostly gray or mostly reddish-brown. They have yellow eyes. They mostly feed on rodents and insects.
Great Horned Owl18.1-24.8 in (46-63 cm)32.1-88.2 oz (910-2500 g)This owl is mottled gray-brown, with a reddish-brown face and a white patch on the throat.Mostly rodents and birds.
Barred Owl16.9-19.7 in (43-50 cm)16.6-37.0 oz (470-1050 g)This owl has a mottled brown and white overall color, with dark brown/black, eyes.They mostly feed on rodents and insects.
Short-eared Owl13.4-16.9 in (34-43 cm)7.3-16.8 oz (206-475 g)This owl has a spotted brown color with white underparts. They mostly feed on rodents and insects.
Burrowing Owl7.5-9.8 in (19-25 cm)5.3 oz (150 g)This owl has a brown mottled color with sandy-pale spots on the upper parts.They mostly feed on rodents and insects.
Snowy Owl20.5-27.9 in (52-71 cm)56.4-104.1 oz (1600-2950 g)These birds are overall white in color with some black and brown spots. They also have yellow eyes.Mostly rodents and birds.

Owls In Florida

Barn Owl

Barn Owls have buff-colored backs and white cheeks, chests, and bellies, as well as underwings. They have round features and have long, rounded wings and short tails.

Females have parasite-repelling spots on their chests, and the more spots a female has, the more the male contributes to the nest-building process!

They sleep in quiet barns during the day and hunt for tiny rodents at night over open areas such as fields and meadows. Barn owls eat their prey whole and spit out pellets twice a day.

Because the Barn Owl has the finest hearing of any animal studied, it hunts for prey mostly by sound.

This allows them to grab prey in total darkness, as well as those hiding behind foliage or in the open.

They make their nests in tree holes, caves, and abandoned or silent structures.

The nest is made up of regurgitated pellets that have been placed in a cup by their feet. Over the course of one to three broods, they lay 2-18 white eggs.

Barn Owls are found on six continents and are found in 46 different species. Instead of hooting like other owls, they produce a raspy scream sound.

Eastern-Screech Owl

Gray and red colorings are available for this small stocky bird. They are about the size of a robin but a little bit chunkier, with a huge head and nearly no neck.

Their striped and spotty camouflage blends very well with tree bark.

On cool bright days, you could spot an Eastern Screech-Owl sunning itself in a tree cavity or by the frenzied mobbing of songbirds when they find them.

Pellets in a pile are also a dead giveaway. They create a vibrating trill and a harsh, falling whinny sound.

Eastern Screech-Owls consume most small creatures, including birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, and amphibians, and hunt largely at night but also at dawn and twilight.

They frequently sit and wait for prey to pass by before leaping from perches to attack.

Because they seldom dig their own nests, the Eastern Screech-Owl frequently uses abandoned woodpecker nests or other holes or cavities.

They don’t contribute any nesting material to the hollow, instead laying their eggs on whatever trash is at the bottom.

Great Horned Owl

Gray-brown in color with a mottled pattern and a white patch on the neck, Great Horned Owls are the largest of the owl species.

They have large and round wings and they produce a deep hooting cry.

It is one of the most common owls in North America, and it may be found in a variety of environments, including woods, deserts, towns, and grasslands.

These formidable predators feed on birds and animals that are much larger than themselves. Various raptors that they will hunt include ospreys, peregrine falcons, and other owls.

Small rodents including mice, skunks, geese, and hares, as well as insects, fish, and carrion, make up their diversified diet.

Great Horned Owls build their nests in trees and frequently reuse previous nests from other species. They occasionally line the nest with bark, leaves, downy feathers, or pellets, although they don’t always.

Barred Owl

These enormous stocky birds are somewhere between a crow and a goose in size.

Barred Owls have a mottled pattern of vertical stripes on their belly and horizontal stripes on their backs and higher chests.

They have black eyes, a rounded tail, and a characteristic round head with no ear tufts.

They sit and watch for tiny creatures, such as squirrels, rabbits, birds, and voles, from a lofty perch. They inhabit big mature woods, frequently near water.

Short-eared Owl

The Short-eared Owl is usually seen in Florida throughout the winter, with some staying until June before traveling to further northern states and Canada to mate.

They’re roughly the same size as a crow and have extremely little ear tufts.

Short-eared Owls have a pale face and black-rimmed yellow eyes with mottled black, brown, and white coloration. They have a short tail and large wings with a rounded end.

The Short-eared Owl, unlike other owls, hunts throughout the day, primarily between dawn and dusk.

They hover low to the ground, listening for movement from their prey, which includes tiny animals like voles and mice.

Short-eared Owls are also unique in that they dig a bowl out of the ground and line it with grass and soft feathers to make their nest. They lay one to eleven cream or white eggs.

These owls are not particularly loud, although, during courting, the males will utter around a dozen hoots, and while guarding the nest, they may bark, whine, or scream.

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owls are unique in that they hunt during the day on the ground, run around on their long legs, and dwell underground in burrows.

Burrowing Owls have flatter heads and lack the facial disc and ear tufts that some owls have, giving them a distinctive appearance.

Adults have brown and white mottling, as well as yellow bills and eyes. Their undersides are lighter in color than their backs. Juveniles have a less speckled appearance.

Burrowing Owls are tiny and highly hidden, making them considerably more difficult to see in the open than you might imagine.

The Burrowing Owl’s food consists of lizards, birds, mammals, and insects. During the day, females hunt more insects, while males hunt more lizards, mice, and voles at night.

They use animal excrement to lure beetles and insects to their burrows, which they subsequently eat. Any additional kills will be stored in their burrows, which may be quite a considerable number.

Snowy Owl

In Florida, Snowy Owls are considered an unintentional owl species. They have, however, been seen in Florida during years of high disruptiveness, when lemming populations in Canada are low. 

They are white birds with modest quantities of black or brown patterns, golden eyes, and a crow-like appearance.

They can be difficult to see against a snowy background, but they like to perch on high elevations, making them simpler to see.

They are typically silent, but during breeding season they may utter a harsh croak or piercing whistle.

Snowy Owls, unlike other owls, are diurnal, spending the entire summer daylight hunting in the arctic. They prey on small animals, particularly lemmings, and can consume up to 1600 per year.

They also catch flying birds like ptarmigan and ducks. They consume rodents, rabbits, squirrels, and waterfowl like ducks and geese in the winter.

On the tundra, the Snowy Owl nest is basically a scratched shallow depression in the ground. They choose a windy elevation where the snow will be blown away and reuse the nest for many years.

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