Galapagos Short Eared Owl Facts

Name: Short-eared Owl
Family: Strigidae
Scientific Name: Asio flammeus
Length: 34 - 42 cm (13.4 - 16.5 in)
Weight: 206–475 g (7.3–16.8 oz)
Wingspan: 90 - 105 cm (35.4 - 41.3 in)

Category: Land Birds
Number of Species: 49
Endemic Species: 22

In total, 49 species of land birds have been recorded in the Galapagos, 22 of which are endemic to the Islands. Land birds can be divided into 5 categories: Diurnal Raptors, Night Birds, Larger Land Birds, Aerial Feeders and Smaller Land Birds.

Category: Night Birds
Endemic Subspecies: Barn owl, Short-eared Owl

Just three species of night birds have been recorded in Galapagos, two of which are resident with endemic subspecies. Each of the species represents a different group. Owls are commonly seen during a Galapagos trip.

The typical owls are small to large-sized, mainly nocturnal, birds of prey with long, broad, rounded wings; hooked bills; relatively short, powerful legs; and sharp, curved talons. The only species to occur in Galápagos, the Short-eared Owl, is medium-sized and readily told from the Barn Owl by its mainly dark plumage, dark, circular facial disc and yellow eyes. The sexes are alike and immature plumages resemble adult plumage.

A fairly large, rather long-winged, brown owl with short, often inconspicuous, ear-tufts. Upperparts heavily mottled and streaked dark brown and buff; wings dark brown with buff spots; underparts slightly paler than upperparts with brown streaking, heaviest on the breast; facial disc dusky brown, bordered breast with narrow black and white lines; eyes yellow. In flight, underwings pale with black crescent in carpal area and black wing-rips. Sexes alike, although females appreciably larger than males.

Most active during the early morning and late evening, quartering the ground with slow, deep wingbeats, somewhat reminiscent of a harrier. Tends to feed nocturnally in areas where Galapagos Hawk is present.

Short Eared Owl