Species: Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

Information About

Short-eared Owl

Quick Facts

Asio flammeus


keneqpataq, kenriiq


Viewing Scale

Chances of seeing Short-eared Owl in Alaska

Short-eared Owl in Detail.

In Alaska, short-eared owls are ghostly looking owls with mostly white, light-colored faces and dark black feathers surrounding their yellow eyes. Their bellies are pale colored with few vertical dark bars.

Their evening flights are somewhat erratic in pattern. They will fly normal then drop for a few seconds while performing a wing clap. The wing clap has an amazing effect of throwing sound. The sound will often appear as though it's coming from somewhere nearby at ground or tree level, while the owl is usually at least a few hundred feet away and up. The sound will appear to jump around from one area to the next, in a whippering- woo-woo-woo sound.

Their calls are a raspy barking noise.

Their diet consist largely of voles and other small mammals, however they will go after prey as large as snowshoe hare. In coastal areas it is not uncommon for short-eared owls to prey on other birds.


Little Brown Bat, Silver-haired Bat, Big Brown Bat, Tundra Shrew, Masked or Common Shrew, Dusky Shrew, Water Shrew, Pygmy Shrew, Tiny Shrew, Northern Red-backed Vole, Southern Red-backed Vole or Gapper's Red-backed Vole, Meadow Vole, Tundra Vole, Long-tailed Vole, Yellow-cheeked Vole, Singing Vole, Northern Collared Lemming, Nelson's Collared Lemming, Unalaska Collared Lemming, Siberian Brown Lemming, North American Brown Lemming, Northern Bog Lemming

Habitat & Range

Short-eared owls prefer open areas. In interior Alaska they can be found throughout the boreal forest, in coastal areas they will stay around fields and flats.


Short-eared Owls prefer to nest on the ground.


Pictures of Short-eared Owl.