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Eastern Screech Owl

Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo

Did You Know?

  • Owls have tube-shaped eyes that are so large they can’t move in their sockets. To compensate, the birds can rotate their neck up to 270 degrees in any direction.
  • Owls also have blood-pooling systems that collect blood to keep the brain and eye functional when neck movement cuts off circulation.
  • They also have serrated flying feathers that help muffle the sound of their wings.

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Why aren’t animals visible at all times? To promote positive animal welfare, we provide animals with choices. They can choose to spend time in areas that are out of public view.


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Scientific Name: Megascops asio

Class: Birds

Diet: Small prey, including rodents, birds, lizards, frogs, fish, and large insects

Range: North America, east of the Rocky Mountains

Endangered Status: Least Concern

More Information

Eastern screech owls are small; larger ones have a height of less than 10 inches. Their wingspans can be 24 inches long. Their feathers are mostly gray, but may also be reddish-brown, with a complex pattern that provides good camouflage against tree bark. They have pointed ear tufts and yellow eyes and bills. Their ears are asymmetrical, located at different heights on their head. This allows owls to pinpoint the locations of sounds in multiple dimensions.

These nocturnal birds do not migrate but may move around locally during winters or times of food shortages. They nest in tree cavities, including abandoned woodpecker holes. Courtship lasts from late January to mid-March, and pairs are usually monogamous. Females lay four to five eggs per clutch starting in early March and they hatch after about 26 days. Both parents feed their young, which fledge around May.

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