Short-eared owl

The short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) is a species of typical owl (family Strigidae). Owls belonging to genus Asio are known as the eared owls, as they have tufts of feathers resembling mammalian ears. These "ear" tufts may or may not be visible. Asio flammeus will display its tufts when in a defensive pose, although its very short tufts are usually not visible. The short-eared owl is found in open country and grasslands. The scientific name is from Latin. The genus name Asio is a type of eared owl, and flammeus means "flame-coloured".[2]

Short-eared owl
Short Eared Owl on the Ground
Individual at the Little Rann of Kutch
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Asio
A. flammeus
Binomial name
Asio flammeus
(Pontoppidan, 1763)
Sumpfohreule-Asio flammeus-World
  • Asio accipitrinus (Pallas, 1771)
  • Strix accipitrina Pallas, 1771
  • Strix flammea Pontoppidan, 1763
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) Photograph By Shantanu Kuveskar
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) in Mangaon, Maharashtra, India
Short-eared Owl Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary East Sikkim India 06.04.2016
Asio flammeus flammeus from Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary in Sikkim from 13,500 ft near Lungthu. Such high altitude distributions can be found in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh area of Higher Himalayas as well.


The short-eared owl is a medium-sized owl measuring 34–43 cm (13–17 in) in length and weighing 206–475 g (7.3–16.8 oz).[3] It has large eyes, a big head, a short neck, and broad wings. Its bill is short, strong, hooked and black. Its plumage is mottled tawny to brown with a barred tail and wings. The upper breast is significantly streaked.[4] Its flight is characteristically floppy due to its irregular wingbeats. The short-eared owl may also be described as "moth or bat-like" in flight.[5] Wingspans range from 85 to 110 cm (33 to 43 in).[6] Females are slightly larger than males. The yellow-orange eyes of A. flammeus are exaggerated by black rings encircling each eye, giving the appearance of them wearing mascara, and large, whitish disks of plumage surrounding the eyes like a mask.

Separation from long-eared owl

Over much of its range, short-eared owls occurs with the similar-looking long-eared owl. At rest, the ear-tufts of long-eared owl serve to easily distinguish the two (although long-eared owls can sometimes hold its ear-tufts flat). The iris-colour differs: yellow in short-eared, and orange in long-eared, and the black surrounding the eyes is vertical on long-eared, and horizontal on short-eared. Overall the short-eared tends to be a paler, sandier bird than the long-eared. There are a number of other ways in which the two species the differ which are best seen when they are flying: a) short-eared often has a broad white band along the rear edge of the wing, which is not shown by long-eared; b) on the upperwing, short-eared owls' primary-patches are usually paler and more obvious; c) the band on the upper side of short-eared owl's tail are usually bolder than those of long-eared; d) short-eared's innermost secondaries are often dark-marked, contrasting with the rest of the underwing; e) the long-eared owl has streaking throughout its underparts whereas on short-eared the streaking ends at the breast; f) the dark markings on the underside of the tips of the longest primaries are bolder on short-eared owl; g) the upper parts are coarsely blotched, whereas on long-eared they are more finely marked. The short-eared owl also differs structurally from the long-eared, having longer, slimmer wings: the long-eared owl has wings shaped more like those of a tawny owl.[7] The long-eared owl generally has different habitat preferences from the short-eared, most often being found concealed in areas with dense wooded thickets. The short-eared owl is often most regularly seen flying about in early morning or late day as it hunts over open habitats.


Asio flammeus -Genovesa Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador-8
On the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

As of 2009, there are ten recognized subspecies of the short-eared owl:[8][9]

Some authorities recognize a further subspecies:[9]

  • A. f. cubensisGarrido, 2007: found in Cuba


The short-eared owl occurs on all continents except Antarctica and Australia; thus it has one of the most widespread distributions of any bird. A. flammeus breeds in Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the Galápagos Islands. It is partially migratory, moving south in winter from the northern parts of its range. The short-eared owl is known to relocate to areas of higher rodent populations.[12] It will also wander nomadically in search of better food supplies during years when vole populations are low. (See a map of the short-eared owl's distribution across the New World.)


Short Eared Owl in its habitat
Short Eared Owl in its habitat. Notice how it chooses short shady trees to roost under, in a grassland/ desert habitat.

Nesting and reproduction

Asio flammeus MWNH 0620
Egg, Collection Museum Wiesbaden

Sexual maturity is attained at one year. Breeding season in the northern hemisphere lasts from March to June, peaking in April. During this time these owls may gather in flocks. During breeding season, the males make great spectacles of themselves in flight to attract females. The male swoops down over the nest flapping its wings in a courtship display.[12] These owls are generally monogamous.

The short-eared owl nests on the ground in prairie, tundra, savanna, or meadow habitats. Nests are concealed by low vegetation, and may be lightly lined by weeds, grass, or feathers.[12] Approximately 4 to 7 white eggs are found in a typical clutch, but clutch size can reach up to a dozen eggs in years when voles are abundant. There is one brood per year. The eggs are incubated mostly by the female for 21–37 days. Offspring fledge at a little over four weeks. This owl is known to lure predators away from its nest by appearing to have a crippled wing.[4]

Diet and foraging habits

Flickr - Rainbirder - Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) (1)
In flight
Flickr - Rainbirder - Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
In flight
Asio flammeus -Fazenda Campo de Ouro, Piraju, Sao Paulo, Brasil-8
In Piraju, São Paulo, Brazil

Hunting occurs mostly at night, but this owl is known to be diurnal and crepuscular as well. Its daylight hunting seems to coincide with the high-activity periods of voles, its preferred prey.[13] It tends to fly only feet above the ground in open fields and grasslands until swooping down upon its prey feet-first.[4] Several owls may hunt over the same open area.[14] Its food consists mainly of rodents, especially voles, but it will eat other small mammals such as mice, ground squirrels, shrews, rats, bats, muskrats and moles. It will also occasionally predate smaller birds, especially when near sea-coasts and adjacent wetlands at which time they attack shorebirds, terns and small gulls and seabirds with semi-regularity. Avian prey is more infrequently preyed on inland and centers on passerines such as larks, icterids, starlings, tyrant flycatchers and pipits. Insects supplement the diet and short-eared owls may prey on roaches, grasshoppers, beetles, katydids and caterpillars. Competition can be fierce in North America with the northern harrier, with which the owl shares similar habitat and prey preferences. Both species will readily harass the other when prey is caught.[15]


Because of the high pH in the stomach of owls they have a reduced ability to digest bone and other hard parts, they eject pellets containing the remains of their prey.[16]


Short-eared owls have a scratchy bark-like call. Raspy waowk, waowk, waowk or toot-toot-toot-toot-toot sounds are common. A loud eeee-yerp is also heard on breeding grounds. However, short-eared owls are silent on the wintering grounds.[4]

Conservation status

It is listed as declining in the southern portion of its US range. It is common in the northern portion of its breeding range.[3]

It is listed as endangered in New Mexico. Its appearance at the Calverton Executive Airpark on Long Island has prompted the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to take the lead on ruling whether a massive redevelopment of the airport will receive the necessary environmental permits.[3]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Asio flammeus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 57, 160. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ a b c "Short-eared Owl". All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
  4. ^ a b c d Alsop, Fred J. (2001). Birds of North America: Eastern Region. New York, NY: DK Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-0789471567.
  5. ^ "Short-eared Owl Fact Sheet". New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
  6. ^ Doan, N. (1999). "Asio flammeus" (On-line)". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  7. ^ Harris, Alan; Tucker, Laurel; Vinicombe, Keith (1989). The MacMillan Field Guide to Bird Identification. pp. 147–149. ISBN 978-0333589403(reference covers whole paragraph)
  8. ^ "Asio flammeus". ITIS Report. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  9. ^ a b Gill, F.; Donsker, D., eds. (2014). "IOC World Bird List (v 4.4)". doi:10.14344/IOC.ML.4.4. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  10. ^ Kricher, John C. (2006). Galápagos: A Natural History. Princeton University Press. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-691-12633-3.
  11. ^ "Pueo or Hawaiian Short-eared Owl" (PDF). Hawaii’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. State of Hawaii, Division of Forestry and Wildlife. 1 October 2005. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  12. ^ a b c Ehrlich, Paul R.; Dobkin, David S.; Wheye, Darryl (1988). The Birder's Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Inc.
  13. ^ Reynolds, Peter; Gorman, Martyn L. (28 February 2006). "The timing of hunting in short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) in relation to the activity patterns of Orkney voles (Microtus arvalis orcadensis)". Journal of Zoology. London: Blackwell Publishing. 247 (3): 371–79. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1999.tb01000.x. ISSN 1469-7998.
  14. ^ Kaufman, Kenn (2000). Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Co.
  15. ^ "Short-eared Owl - Asio Flammeus". The Owl Pages.
  16. ^ Smiddy, P. (2013). "The characteristics of Irish Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) pellets". Ir. Nat. J. 33: 8–13.


  • Davis, A.H.; Prytherch, R.J. (1976). "Field identification of Long-eared and Short-eared Owls". British Birds. 69: 281–287.
  • Kemp, J.B. (1982). "Field identification of Long-eared and Short-eared Owls". British Birds. 75 (5): 227.
  • Robertson, Iain S. (1982). "Field identification of Long-eared and Short-eared Owls". British Birds. 75 (5): 227–229.
  • Kemp, J.B. (1982). "Tail-lengths of Long-eared and Short-eared Owls". British Birds. 75 (5): 230.

External links

Amagansett National Wildlife Refuge

The Amagansett National Wildlife Refuge, in Amagansett, New York, is located along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean on Long Island's south fork. The refuge is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Established December 16, 1968, the 36-acre (15 ha) refuge is of special significance in the protection and management of fragile shore habitat and wildlife. A major purpose of the refuge is the protection of the secondary dunes, which have become scarce on Long Island due to development. The double dune system encompasses marine sand beach, primary dunes, secondary dunes, swales, fens, cranberry bogs, and oak scrub. Many rare plants, including several orchids, occur on the refuge.

Long-tailed ducks, white-winged scoter, common loon and horned grebe spend winter off the refuge shore, while shorebirds, songbirds and raptors are present during spring and fall. Merlin, Cooper's hawk, kestrel, sharp-shinned hawk, and peregrine falcon pass over the dunes during migration. Ipswich sparrow, rough-legged hawk, and short-eared owl spend winter at the refuge. In late spring and summer the beach hosts piping plover, and common and least terns (protected by the Endangered Species Act) as well as sandpiper and other shorebirds. The eastern hognose snake, a New York State designated species of special concern, can still be found on the refuge.


Asio is a genus of typical owls, or true owls, in the family Strigidae. The genus Asio contains the eared owls, which are characterised by feather tufts on the head which give the appearance of "ears".

The genus was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the long-eared owl (Asio otus) as the type species. The genus name Asio is the Latin name for a type of eared owl.This group has representatives over most of the planet, and the short-eared owl is one of the most widespread of all bird species, breeding in Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the Galápagos Islands. Its geographic range extends to all continents except Antarctica and Australia.

These are medium-sized owls, 30–46 centimetres (12–18 in) in length with 80–103 centimetres (31–41 in) wingspans. They are long winged and have the characteristic facial disc.

The two northern species are partially migratory, moving south in winter from the northern parts of their range, or wandering nomadically in poor vole years in search of better food supplies. Tropical Asio owls are largely sedentary.

Asio owls are mainly nocturnal, but short-eared owls are also crepuscular. Most species nest on the ground, but the long-eared owl, Asio otus, nests in the old stick nests of crows, ravens and magpies (family Corvidae) and various hawks.

These owls hunt over open fields or grasslands, taking mainly rodents, other small mammals and some birds.

Avaste Nature Reserve

Avaste Nature Reserve is a nature reserve situated in western Estonia, to largest extent in Pärnu County.

Avaste nature reserve consists of forests, fens, bogs and meadows. It is centred on Avaste fen, one of the largest fens in Estonia. The flora of the nature reserve includes sweet gale, mud sedge and several species of orchid. Several species of rare or threatened birds furthermore have a habitat in the nature reserve. These include black stork, white-backed woodpecker, northern goshawk, short-eared owl, three species of eagle and others.A 2.6 km (1.6 mi) long hiking trail runs adjacent to the nature reserve.

Bollihope, Pikestone, Eggleston and Woodland Fells

Bollihope, Pikestone, Eggleston and Woodland Fells is a Site of Special Scientific Interest in the Teesdale district of west County Durham, England. It covers a broad expanse of moorland to the north and east of Middleton-in-Teesdale.

The site has a diverse mix of habitats, mainly dry heath, with wet heath and blanket-mire in areas that are poorly drained.The SSSI, which is situated within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, shares a common boundary with the Upper Teesdale SSSI to the west, and adjoins Hamsterley Forest on three sides.

The area supports breeding populations of a number of species of birds that are listed in the United Kingdom's Red Data Book (Birds), including three—merlin, Eurasian golden plover and short-eared owl—that are listed in Annex 1 of the European Commission's Birds Directive as requiring special protection. The flora of the area includes a number of species that are scarce locally or nationally.

Curry and Hay Moors

Curry and Hay Moors (grid reference ST323273) is a 472.8 hectare (1168.1 acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Somerset, notified in 1992.

Curry and Hay Moors form part of the complex of grazing marshes known as the Somerset Levels and Moors. The low-lying site is situated adjacent to the River Tone which annually overtops, flooding the fields in winter. Soils are predominantly alluvial

clays overlying Altcar series peats. The flora and fauna of the ditches and rhynes is of national importance. Over 70 aquatic and bankside vascular plants have been recorded including frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae), flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus), wood club-rush (Scirpus sylvaticus) and lesser water-plantain (Baldellia ranunculoides). Over 100 species of aquatic invertebrates inhabit the ditches including one nationally rare soldier fly, (Odontomyia ornata) and 13 nationally scarce species including the water beetles Agabus uliginosus, Hydaticus transversalis and Helophorus nanus.

In winter the flooded fields provide food for large numbers of waterfowl with several thousand lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), hundreds of snipe (Gallinago gallinago) and smaller numbers of golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria) and dunlin (Calidris alpina) regularly present. Over two hundred Bewick's swans (Cygnus bewickii) have been recorded, making the site an internationally important wintering ground for this species. Raptor species such as short-eared owl (Asio flammeus), merlin (Falco columbarius) and peregrine (Falco peregrinus) regularly hunt over the site in winter. Vertebrate species present include grass snake (Natrix natrix) and common frog Rana temporaria. Otters (Lutra lutra) are regularly recorded on the site.The moor was flooded during the winter flooding of 2013–14 on the Somerset Levels.

Großes Meer

The Großes Meer is a naturally formed fen lake (Niedermoorsee) in north Germany that lies between Aurich and Emden near Bedekaspel in the Südbrookmerland region, on the edge of the East Frisian Geest where it transitions to the Ems marshes. The lake is the fourth largest in the state of Lower Saxony with an area of open water of about 289 hectares (710 acres) (and reed bed covering about 400 hectares (990 acres)). The Großes Meer is – apart from a few deeper spots – only 0.5 to 1.0 metre deep. It is divided into two, almost separate, bodies of water (northern and southern sections). One feature is that the average water level lies 1.4 metres below sea level due to artificial drainage.

The nature reserve of South Großes Meer (Südteil Großes Meer) was established in 1974 and is surrounded by a 2,500 hectares (6,200 acres) large protected landscape. The northern part, by contrast, is used as a leisure and recreation area and has facilities for angling and water sports. It may not be used by motor boats, however.

With its extensive belt of reed-beds and the adjacent wetlands the Großes Meer and its surrounds are a breeding area and habitat of regional importance. Black-tailed godwit, snipe, lapwing, short-eared owl, marsh harrier, hen harrier, bittern, sedge warbler, bluethroat and reed bunting are a few of the species of breeding bird that are important from a conservation perspective. In winter huge flocks of greylag geese and greater white-fronted geese shelter here.

Southwest of the Großes Meer lies the Kleines Meer, also called the Hieve. West of the northern section of the Großes Meer is the Loppersumer Meer. The former Siersmeer and Heerenmeeder Meer in the southern part of the nature reserve have completely silted up and now form a large expanse of sedge with transitions to grey willow bushes.

Hexhamshire Moors

Hexhamshire Moors is a Site of Special Scientific Interest covering an extensive area of moorland in the Wear Valley district of north-west County Durham and the Tynedale district of south-west Northumberland, England.

It is a broadly rectangular area, occupying most of the upland between the valleys of the River East Allen to the west and Devil's Water to the east. The southern part of the site shares boundaries with the Muggleswick, Stanhope and Edmundbyers Commons and Blanchland Moor SSSI to the east and is separated from the Allendale Moors SSSI only by a very narrow strip of the East Allen valley.

The area has one of the largest expanses of blanket bog and heathland in northern England. Acid bogs occur in the vicinity of the numerous flushes that drain the moorland plateau, and localised patches of acid grassland have developed in areas that are regularly grazed by sheep.Floristically, much of the area is species-poor, but there are small populations of some nationally scarce species, including bog orchid, Hammarbya paludosa, which is found on the blanket peat, and forked spleenwort, Asplenium septentrionale, whose presence at one locality in the Northumberland part of the site is, to date, the only known record for that county.

The site's principal importance lies in its nationally important breeding populations of birds: three species—merlin, Eurasian golden plover and short-eared owl—are listed in Annex 1 of the European Commission's Birds Directive as requiring special protection and several others, including red grouse, Eurasian curlew, common redshank, Eurasian oystercatcher and dunlin, are listed in the United Kingdom's Red Data Book (Birds).Much of the moorland heath also supports a rich assemblage of invertebrates, including several scarce species of ground beetle, Carabidae.

The site is within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Island View Beach

Island View Beach is located on the Eastern Cordova shore of the Saanich Peninsula, near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

A real treasure for people who like quiet nature settings, with views of Mount Baker, and Islands of the Gulf Island National Park Reserve. (Sidney Spit-(Sidney Island) and D'Arcy Island)

Families and Nature Enthusiasts will enjoy walking the many meadow trails, to learn about the various plant and animal species. ( not all trails are accessible for persons who require hard flat surfaces). There is several kilometers of shoreline for walking, with excellent shorebird viewing, and millions of interesting rocks along the way.

Much of the southern part of the foreshore make up the public Island View Beach Regional Park. Long inhabited by the native [Coast Salish peoples], the Tsawout First Nation has a reservation fronting much of the northern end of the beach. The Tsawout have been living and gathering seafood from the ocean and well as gathering local medicinal plants, as part of the culture for thousands of years. The first known European visitors were James Douglas and first mate Scott M. Jenkin in the latter half of the 18th century. Located southwest of James Island, to locals it is known as the "Beach of Destiny". Located at Homathko and Puckle Road, public parking. There is a public campground (part of the regional park) which is open for the summer season from the Victoria Day long weekend in May to the Labour Day long weekend in September.

Visitors should be aware there is off leash dog restrictions from June 1 to September 15. Dogs should be kept on leash in beach and picnic areas and are not allowed to stay overnight. Island View Beach Regional Park ("I-View") is a BC Regional Park, therefore facilities are located for those who are in need of garbage cans and or washrooms. Island View Beach has a boat launch for access to Haro Strait and the Cordova Channel.

Visitors and Nature Photographers are treated in the spring and fall, to view migratory birds that stop here to rest and feed . Presently there is concern in conservation of the Beach, Sand Dune, and Salt Marsh that support a vast eco system, (endangered Species) within the Island View Beach area. An outdated park plan exists, which is presently under review, and will be updated to reflect conservation strategies.

The Island View Beach terrain consists of beach, dune, and marshland, that supports a wide range of local wild animal and plant species. Due to human activity over the last century this ecological area has placed local wild animal and plant species to possible risk, and endangerment.

Possible species at risk have been identified as:

Contorted Pod Evening Primrose,

Sand Verbena moth,

Common Night Hawk,

Bank Swallow,

Barn Swallow,

Marbled Murrelet,

Olive-sided Flycatcher,

Peregrine Falcon,

Horned Grebe,

Great Blue Heron,

Short-eared Owl,

Long-billed Curlew,

Western Grebe,

Ancient Murrelet,

Band-tailed Pigeon,

Georgia Basin Bog Spider,

Common Murre,

Brandt's Cormorant,


Cackling Goose,

Long-tailed Duck,

California Gull,

Surf Scoter,

Red-necked Phalarope,

Purple Martin,

Yellow Sand-verbena,

Beach Bindweed,

American Glehnia,

Fleshy Jaumea,

Black Knotweed,

Double-crested Cormorant,

Snowy Owl,

Caspian Tern

Lake Mason National Wildlife Refuge

Lake Mason National Wildlife Refuge is located in the center of the U.S. state of Montana. The refuge has numerous lakes and extensive marshlands along Willow Creek, which provide nesting habitat for over a hundred bird species. The refuge is managed from the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and is normally unstaffed and has few visitor improvements. The refuge consists of three discontinuous areas; the Lake Mason area which has seasonal wetlands, the North section consisting primarily of uplands and the Willow Creek section which was set aside to protect habitat for the mountain plover.Animals that roam in this refuge include red-tailed hawk, raccoon, coyote, ferruginous hawk, beaver, Canada goose, ring-necked pheasant, red fox, northern harrier, porcupine, bald eagle, rough-legged hawk, long-tailed weasel, short-eared owl, golden eagle, mink, burrowing owl, mallard, muskrat, and badger.

List of nocturnal birds

There are many birds that are active nocturnally. Some, like owls and nighthawks, are predominantly nocturnal whereas others do specific tasks, like migrating, nocturnally.

North Island brown kiwi, Apteryx mantelli

Barn owl, Tyto alba

Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus

Long-eared owl, Asio otus

Great horned owl, Bubo virginianus

Barred owl, Strix varia

Spotted owl, Strix occidentalis

Eastern screech-owl, Megascops asio

Western screech-owl, Megascops kennicottii

Whiskered screech-owl, Megascops trichopsis

Flammulated owl, Psiloscops flammeolus

Elf owl, Micrathene whitneyi

Great gray owl, Strix nebulosa

Northern saw-whet owl, Aegolius acadicus

Boreal owl, Aegolius funereus

Burrowing owl, Athene cunicularia

Kakapo, Strigops habroptilus

Long-eared owl

The long-eared owl (Asio otus), also known as the northern long-eared owl, is a species of owl which breeds in Europe, Asia, and North America. This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, family Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping of owls are the barn owls, family Tytonidae.

The scientific name is from Latin. The genus name Asio is a type of eared owl, and otus also refers to a small eared owl.

Lune Forest

Lune Forest is a Site of Special Scientific Interest covering an extensive area of moorland in the Teesdale district of west Durham, England. In the north, where it adjoins the Upper Teesdale and Appleby Fells SSSIs, it extends from Mickle Fell eastward almost as far as Harter Fell, above the hamlet of Thringarth. Its southern limit is marked by the River Balder, upstream from Balderhead Reservoir, where it shares a boundary with Cotherstone Moor SSSI to the south. Grains o' th' Beck Meadows and Close House Mine SSSIs are entirely surrounded by Lune Forest, but do not form part of it.

The area has one of the most extensive areas of relatively undisturbed blanket bog in northern England, as well as a number of upland habitats, including wet and dry heath, acid grassland, limestone grassland and flushes.The predominant vegetation is blanket mire, in which heather, Calluna vulgaris, and hare's-tail cottongrass, Eriophorum vaginatum, are co-dominant. On higher ground, to the west, dwarf shrubs such as cloudberry, Rubus chamaemorus, and crowberry, Empetrum nigrum, are more frequent. Where steep slopes have inhibited peat formation, the blanket mire gives way to dry heath, in which heather, wavy hair-grass, Deschampsia flexuosa, and bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus, are the dominant species.

In the northern part of the site, areas where the underlying limestone outcrops at the surface, or has been cut into by small streams, are marked by bands of grassland, typically dominated by mat-grass, Nardus stricta, and with herbs such as heath bedstraw, Galium saxatile, and tormentil, Potentilla erecta. Where the limestone soils are thinner, a more species-rich grassland is found: wild thyme, Thymus praecox, and selfheal, Prunella vulgaris, are common, and in some places there are large populations of spring gentian, Gentiana verna, a nationally rare species that is found nowhere else in Great Britain outside the Teesdale area.The area supports breeding populations of several important birds: merlin, short-eared owl and Eurasian golden plover are listed in Annex 1 of the European Commission's Birds Directive as requiring special protection, while black grouse, red grouse, dunlin, Northern lapwing, ring ouzel and twite are listed in the United Kingdom's Red Data Book (Birds).The site is within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Moorhouse and Cross Fell

Moorhouse and Cross Fell is a Site of Special Scientific Interest covering an extensive area of moorland in the Wear Valley district of west County Durham and the Eden district of Cumbria, England. It is contiguous with Upper Teesdale SSSI to the east and Appleby Fells SSSI to the south. The area covered extends roughly from an arc through the villages of Gamblesby, Leadgate and Garrigill southward as far as Milburn in the west and Cow Green Reservoir in the east. It includes the whole of Cross Fell, the summit of which, at 893 metres asl, is the highest point in the Pennines and in England outside the Lake District.

The area is important for its wide variety of upland habitats, especially blanket bog, sub-montane and montane heath, montane bryophyte heath, limestone grassland and flushes, and for the fauna and flora that they support. The site also includes a number of localities of geological interest.More than forty species of birds breed in the area, including several raptors—merlin, peregrine, common buzzard, common kestrel, short-eared owl—and waders—Eurasian golden plover, dunlin, common sandpiper, northern lapwing, Eurasian curlew, common redshank, and common snipe—whose survival is threatened; four (merlin, peregrine, golden plover and short-eared owl) are listed in Annex 1 of the European Commission's Birds Directive as requiring special protection and others (including lapwing and dunlin) are listed in the United Kingdom's Red Data Book (Birds).The invertebrate fauna is best known from studies conducted over many years at the Moor House NNR. The area shares many characteristics with the Cairngorms region of Scotland but there are some notable rarities, including a rove beetle, Olophrum assimile, which is known from only one other locality in Britain, a carabid beetle, Nebria nivalis, which has not been found anywhere else in the North Pennines and is known elsewhere in Britain only from North Wales, the Cairngorms and Scafell Pike, and a leiodid beetle, Hydnobius spinipes, which is known from only four other localities in Britain. In all, some 27 endangered species and over 70 nationally scarce species have been recorded from the Moor House reserve.Although the area has a variety of habitats, it is the montane vegetation that is particularly notable. The summit of Cross Fell is dominated by a heath in which the moss Racromitium lanuginosum is dominant and is the most extensive area of such heath in England. Other notable montane and sub-montane species include hair sedge, Carex capillaris, northern bedstraw, Galium boreale, mountain everlasting, Antennaria dioica, and alpine forget-me-not, Myosotis alpestris.Within the site are five localities of geological interest, of which the following are particularly notable:

Knock Fell Caverns — situated at the head of Knock Ore Gill, this is the most extensive maze cave system in Britain.

Cross Fell — together with the Dun Fells and Knock Fell, this area is important both for its examples of periglacial landforms and because some periglacial processes are still active.

Muggleswick, Stanhope and Edmundbyers Commons and Blanchland Moor

Muggleswick, Stanhope and Edmundbyers Commons and Blanchland Moor is a Site of Special Scientific Interest in County Durham and Northumberland, England. It consists of two separate areas, the larger—encompassing the upland areas of Muggleswick, Stanhope and Edmundbyers Commons—in the Derwentside and Wear Valley districts of north Durham, the smaller—Blanchland Moor—in the Tynedale district of south-west Northumberland.The site has one of the most extensive areas of dry heath in northern England. There are also areas of wet heath, acid grassland, flushes, relict juniper woodland and small areas of open water.

The dry heath is dominated by heather, Calluna vulgaris, and wavy hair-grass, Deschampsia flexuosa; the regionally rare bearberry, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, is found on the higher parts of Blanchland Moor. Other noteworthy plants are the nationally scarce pale forget-me-not, Myosotis stolonifera, and the regionally rare round-leaved crowfoot, Ranunculus omiophyllus, and ivy-leaved bellflower, Wahlenbergia hederacea, all of which occur in the vicinity of streams, and the nationally scarce spring sandwort, Minuartia verna, one of a number of metallophytes that occur on old spoil heaps around disused lead-mines on Stanhope Common.As with the rest of the North Pennines moorlands, of which these areas form part, the site is home to nationally important breeding populations of a number of birds. Three species—merlin, Eurasian golden plover and short-eared owl—are listed in Annex 1 of the European Commission's Birds Directive as requiring special protection; the high density of merlin is particularly noteworthy. Other breeding species include red grouse, Eurasian curlew, common redshank, common snipe and dunlin, which are listed in the United Kingdom's Red Data Book (Birds).


The pueo (Asio flammeus sandwichensis) is a subspecies of the short-eared owl that is endemic to Hawaii. The pueo is one of the more famous of the various physical forms assumed by ʻaumākua (ancestor spirits) in Hawaiian culture.

Pueo inhabit forests and grasslands throughout the islands of Hawaiʻi, although their numbers seem to be declining, particularly in the last two decades, and especially on the island of Oʻahu, upon which they were at one time numerous. Pueo is listed by the state of Hawaiʻi as an endangered species on the island of Oʻahu.

Ruabon Moors

Ruabon Moors are an area of upland moorland in Wales to the west of Ruabon and Wrexham. They lie partly within Wrexham county borough and partly within Denbighshire.

In the northern part of the moors are the areas known as Minera Mountain and Esclusham Mountain. Further south are Ruabon Mountain and Eglwyseg Mountain. In the west the moors reach their greatest height at Cyrn-y-Brain, 565 metres (1,854 ft) above sea level. To the north and north-east, the moors are bounded by Minera Limeworks and the Clywedog valley. In the east they slope down to the villages of Rhosllannerchrugog and Ruabon. There are several small reservoirs in this area. At the southern edge of the moors the cliffs of Eglwyseg Rocks overlook the River Dee and the Vale of Llangollen. On the western side there are more cliffs at World's End while the Horseshoe Pass separates the moors from Llantysilio Mountain. Llandegla Forest, a large conifer plantation, covers the north-western side.

Ruabon Moors are part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest and hold a wide variety of plant and animal life. Large parts of the moors are covered with heather. Where there are outcrops of limestone on the surface a number of scarce plants can be found such as prickly sedge, dark red helleborine and rigid buckler-fern.

The moors are managed for red grouse shooting. Huge numbers were shot in the past (an average of 4658 per year from 1900 to 1913) but numbers have now decreased dramatically. The area is also home to black grouse and a major conservation programme has caused their population to increase in recent years. Other birds which can be seen include peregrine falcon, merlin, hen harrier, short-eared owl and ring ouzel.

The area has been modified by human activity since prehistoric times when people built cairns and cleared the original forest. Mining has taken place in the area since Roman times and there are still many shafts of disused lead, zinc, silver and coal mines dotting the area. During the Second World War bombs were dropped on the moors by German planes heading to and from Liverpool and a number of bomb craters can still be seen today.

The area is popular with walkers and rock-climbers and the Offa's Dyke Path crosses the region.

It is rife with controversy after two satellite tagged hen harriers mysteriously disappeared here in 2018 and a raven was found poisoned in 2019.

Stygian owl

The stygian owl (Asio stygius) is a medium-sized dusky colored owl. It has yellow eyes, a black beak, a dark blackish facial disk, and white eyebrows. Its underparts are a dingy buff color with dark brown barring and streaks. The upperparts are reverse, buff barring and streaks on a dark background.

This owl occupies a variety of deciduous and evergreen forests, and open areas with patchy forest. It lives from sea level to 3,100 metres (10,200 ft) above.

This species takes in a variety of prey including birds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, and insects. All of its hunting is done at night.

The stygian owl lays two eggs in stick nests created by other birds, but occasionally, they will nest on the ground, like their relative, the short-eared owl.

This owl is not globally threatened, although its status varies greatly throughout its range. It lives in South America, and parts of Central America. It has been documented twice in Texas and once in Florida. The adjective stygian means "of, or relating to, the River Styx", but is more widely applied to anything that is dark or dismal.

Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

The Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. A component of the Delaware River estuary in Salem County, New Jersey, it is just north of the Salem River and south of Pennsville.

The Delaware Bay and estuary are wetlands of international importance and an international shorebird reserve. The refuge currently owns approximately 3,000 acres (12 km2) within the 4,600-acre (19 km2) approved boundary. The brackish water tidal marshes and coastal forests that make up nearly 80 percent of the refuge provide waterfowl with a feeding and resting area, particularly during the fall and spring migrations. American black ducks, mallards and northern pintails are common winter visitors. Sandpipers and other shorebirds use the refuge marshes as a feeding area during the summer as well as during the spring and fall migrations.

The rookery at nearby Pea Patch Island hosts over 6,000 pairs of nine species, making it the largest rookery of colonial wading birds on the east coast north of Florida. The refuge marshes provide valuable foraging habitat for these colonial wading birds during the nesting season.

Warblers, sparrows and other migratory birds use the upland areas of the refuge as resting and feeding areas during migration and for nesting during the summer. Thousands of tree swallows forage on the refuge in the late summer. Ospreys, bald eagle, northern harrier, short-eared owl and barn owl nest on the refuge. Supawna meadows lies in the Southeastern mixed forests ecoregion.

There are stands of southern wild rice here too.

Teesdale Allotments

Teesdale Allotments is a Site of Special Scientific Interest in the Teesdale district of County Durham, England. It consists of two large upland areas north of the Tees valley, one to the north and east of the village of Newbiggin, the other to the north-east of Middleton-in-Teesdale.

The area, which adjoins the Upper Teesdale SSSI, consists of enclosed upland grazings, and is of national importance for its bird populations. Species that breed in the area include Northern lapwing, common snipe, common redshank, Eurasian golden plover, black grouse and Eurasian curlew, all except the last of which are declining in numbers nationally. Densities of breeding waders are among the highest in Britain, with up to 90 pairs recorded from one 1 km square.The black grouse population is particularly important: while this species has declined almost everywhere in England, and is now extinct in some former breeding areas, such as Dartmoor and Exmoor, the population in Teesdale has remained relatively stable, and the area now holds 30 percent of the English population, 7 percent of it in the Teesdale Allotments.

Other breeding birds include common teal, merlin, red grouse, short-eared owl, ring ouzel, and Northern wheatear, all of which are listed, or are candidates for listing, in the United Kingdom's Red Data Book (Birds). Three breeding species—merlin, golden plover and short-eared owl—are listed in Annex 1 of the European Commission's Birds Directive as requiring special protection.

Full list of countries where Asio flammeus is found[1]

Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Argentina; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Bolivia; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Brazil; Bulgaria; Canada; Cayman Islands; Chile; China; Colombia; Croatia; Cuba; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Faroe Islands; Federated States of Micronesia; Finland; France; French Guiana; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Guam; Guatemala; Guinea; Guyana; Haiti; Hungary; Iceland; India; Iran, Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Korea (North Korea, South Korea); Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Laos; Latvia; Lebanon; Libya; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Maldives; Mali; Malta; Marshall Islands; Mauritania; Mexico; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Myanmar; Nepal; Netherlands; North Macedonia; Northern Mariana Islands; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian territories; Paraguay; Peru; Poland; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Romania; Russian Federation; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Spain; Sudan; Suriname; Sweden; Switzerland; Syria; Taiwan; Tajikistan; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States (Georgia, Minor Outlying Islands); Uruguay; Uzbekistan; Venezuela; Vietnam; British Virgin Islands; Yemen
Belize; Bermuda; Bhutan; Brunei Darussalam; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Chad; Costa Rica; Gibraltar; Greenland; Hong Kong; Kenya; Liberia; Liechtenstein; Malaysia; Niger; Philippines; Qatar; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Thailand; Trinidad and Tobago; Uganda; U.S. Virgin Islands


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