10 Types Of Owls in Southern California

Owls are very different creatures. There are so many types and varieties of owls that you can find them in different shapes, patterns, colors, sizes et cetera. Do you find these creatures intriguing? If yes, then you have stumbled in the right place. In this article, we will be discussing the owls that are found in Southern California. Besides, we will also share about the owls that are spotted in other parts of California and how you can identify them. So, without any further ado, let’s check out about them in detail. Here is a list of 10 types of owls in Southern California.

Types Of Owls in Southern California

1. Great Horned Owls

This raptor is commonly found in California. Its distribution spans across North America, from the Arctic to the tropics, making it highly versatile in its habitat preferences. As long as there are trees and rocky sites, the Great Horned Owl can build a home anywhere and one of the common chaparral animals in the world. Its adaptability is unmatched, making it challenging to find a bird that adjusts as well as this magnificent owl. It is the best when it comes to adapting to a new habitat. Notably, these types of brown birds have a substantial size and a scary appearance. If you are thinking about how to identify them, observe the long tufts of feathers on their heads which resemble those on their ears and their striking, intimidating eyes are another distinct feature.

Also Read: 10 Types Of Owls in Illinois

Great Horned Owl

2. Barn Owl

Barn Owls are widely distributed across America and various regions worldwide, including California, and one of the popular birds chirping at night. In this state, they can be found year-round. They are mostly found in woodlands and open areas. They have a fondness for quiet and deserted locations like abandoned or forgotten barns. This is how earned them their name “barn” owl. The abundance of rodents, such as mice and voles, in farmlands, provides a substantial portion of their diet. At night, these owls glide close to the ground. Even in the darkest conditions, they find their prey by relying on their exceptional eyesight and hearing ability.

Barn Owl

3. Short-eared Owl

The tawny-brown mottled owl, a mid-sized species, has a widespread distribution throughout North America and is also one of the most popular Japanese birds in the world. These birds of kauai primarily engage in daytime hunting, taking advantage of the activity of their favorite prey, voles. Surprisingly, they are among the most frequently observed owls during daylight hours. These owls are short-eared that typically inhabit open landscapes. If you are looking for an opportunity to spot them in California, keep an eye out at dusk in fields, grasslands, meadows, and sometimes even at the airports.

Short-eared Owl

4. Northern Pygmy Owl

Northern Pygmy Owls are popular owls in Washington State that have a wide distribution across the mountainous western United States. They can be spotted throughout the year in certain areas of California, which include northern, southern, and coastal regions. Their daytime activity sets them apart from most nocturnal owls. It makes them relatively easier to observe. Moreover, these owls are small in size. So, if you want to see them, it is important to stay vigilant to catch a glimpse of them.

Northern Pygmy Owl

5. Northern Saw-whet Owl

In California, spotting a small owl could very likely mean it’s a Northern Saw-whet Owl. Notably, it is one of the tiniest owls globally. They prefer dense forests with mature trees and nearby rivers, but their numbers have been decreasing due to habitat loss. These owls often utilize abandoned woodpecker holes for nesting or artificial nesting boxes. An intriguing fact is that females breed with multiple males within a single season, producing more than one clutch of eggs. Once the chicks have feathers, the mother departs to find another mate, while the father takes care of the chicks.

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Image Source: Wikimedia

6. Western Screech Owl

Throughout most of California, you can easily spot Western Screech Owls throughout the year. These small owls are about the size of robins. They have stocky bodies and short tails. They have a grey-brown plumage with streaky undersides that provide excellent camouflage when they rest in tree holes during the daytime. They hunt quietly at night by flying swiftly to seize their prey. Moreover, they can catch insects in mid-flight to supplement their diet. Besides, their diet also includes reptiles, fish, and small birds.

Western Screech Owl

7. Great Gray Owl

One of the types of Taiga animals can observed in many regions of Northeastern California throughout the year. These owls are impressively large and they have broad wings and long tails. They rank among one of the tallest owls in America. Their unique appearance includes small, closely spaced eyes on prominent facial disks. These features give them a distinctive expression. A key identifier is the white “X” pattern on their faces. Moreover, their bodies are adorned with fluffy, silvery grey feathers, as their name suggests.

Great Gray Owl

8. Barred Owls

While they are not as common as other owls, there are certain parts of Northern California where you can find Barred Owls throughout the year. These owls are primarily found in the southeastern United States, and you will find them mostly in swamps. In Washington State, the ideal spots to find them are woodlands and forests near water sources. They are predominantly active at night. However, at certain times they call their tribe and hunt during the daytime as well.

Barred Owls

9. Snowy Owl

Snowy Owls are incredibly white birds in the world. Watching them is completely a treat to the eyes. These tundra animals come with striking white plumage is a unique feature, that attracts both bird enthusiasts and observers like us. Apart from their face and breasts, their bodies have horizontal dark lines. It adds to their remarkable appearance. Intriguingly, these owls tend to become even whiter as they age. It is a must-see owl. It is also one of the popular winter animals in the world.

Snowy owl

10. Long-eared Owls

Long-eared Owls are alternatively referred to as Northern Long-Eared Owls, Lesser Horned Owls, or Cat Owls. Do you know how they have earned their names? It is due to their catlike facial features. They prefer secretive roosts within dense foliage as their nesting spots. Spotting them is not that easy, so listening to their calls is the best approach. This is how you can identify them. Male owls become quite vocal during the mating season. Their characteristic call is a low “hoo” sound. It is repeated numerous times, every few seconds.

Long-eared Owls

These are 10 types of owls in Southern California. Kindly share and do post your comments.

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