Arkansas is home to a diverse range of owl species, and this article provides a comprehensive overview of these magnificent birds. From the small and camouflaged Eastern Screech-owl to the formidable and photogenic Great Horned Owl, each species has its own unique characteristics and behaviors. The article includes pictures and key information about each owl species, such as their size, weight, wingspan, and habitat preferences. Whether you’re a bird enthusiast or simply fascinated by owls, this article is a must-read to learn more about the seven species of owls that can be found in Arkansas.
7 Species of Owls in Arkansas
Arkansas is home to a diverse range of owl species, with a total of seven different species found within the state. Each of these species has its own unique characteristics and behaviors, making them a fascinating group to study and observe. In this article, we will explore each of the seven owl species found in Arkansas, providing information on their physical attributes, habitat, diet, nesting behavior, and more.
The Eastern Screech-owl is one of the smallest owl species in Arkansas, with a length ranging from 6.3 to 9.8 inches and a weight of 4.3 to 8.6 ounces. These owls have a wingspan of 18.9 to 24.0 inches. They are permanent residents throughout the state and can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, forests, and suburban areas. Eastern Screech-owls primarily feed on insects, rodents, and small songbirds. They are known for their excellent camouflage, which helps them blend in with their surroundings. Eastern Screech-owls mate for life and may accept nesting boxes if provided.
Great Horned Owl
The Great Horned Owl is the largest owl species in Arkansas, with a length ranging from 18.1 to 24.8 inches and a weight of 32.1 to 88.2 ounces. These owls have a wingspan of 39.8 to 57.1 inches. Great Horned Owls are easily recognized by their large size, ear tufts, and yellow eyes. They are skilled hunters and feed on a variety of prey, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and even skunks. Great Horned Owls are known to be aggressive towards other raptors, including the Red-tailed Hawk. They are widespread throughout Arkansas and can be found in a range of habitats, from forests to suburban areas.
The Barn Owl is a medium-sized owl species, with a length ranging from 12.6 to 15.8 inches and a weight of 14.1 to 24.7 ounces. These owls have a wingspan of 39.4 to 49.2 inches. Barn Owls are distributed statewide in Arkansas but are rarely seen due to their elusive nature. They are known for their distinctive heart-shaped face and beautiful plumage. Barn Owls got their name because they often nest in man-made structures, including barns. However, their population is thought to be on the decline in Arkansas.
The Barred Owl is another medium-sized owl species, with a length ranging from 16.9 to 19.7 inches and a weight of 16.6 to 37.0 ounces. These owls have a wingspan of 39.0 to 43.3 inches. Barred Owls are widespread throughout Arkansas and have a stable population. They are known for their distinctive vocalization, which sounds like they are saying “Who cooks for you, Who cooks for you all?” These owls are active during the day and can be easier to spot compared to other nocturnal owls. Barred Owls primarily inhabit forests and nest in tree cavities.
The Long-eared Owl is a medium-sized owl species, with a length ranging from 13.8 to 15.8 inches and a weight of 7.8 to 15.3 ounces. These owls have a wingspan of 35.4 to 39.4 inches. Long-eared Owls have a non-breeding range in Arkansas and migrate to parts of northern United States and Canada for their breeding grounds. They are stealthy nocturnal hunters and can easily be identified by their extra-long ears. During the winter, Long-eared Owls roost in large numbers, making them slightly easier to find.
The Short-eared Owl is a medium-sized owl species, with a length ranging from 13.4 to 16.9 inches and a weight of 7.3 to 16.8 ounces. These owls have a wingspan of 33.5 to 40.5 inches. Short-eared Owls can be seen in Arkansas during the non-breeding season, making winter the best time to spot one. They are commonly found in open fields or brushy areas and are known for their hunting behavior at dawn or dusk. Short-eared Owls have a wide distribution across North America and can be found in every state.
Northern Saw-whet Owl
The Northern Saw-whet Owl is the smallest owl species in Arkansas, with a length ranging from 7.1 to 8.3 inches and a weight of 2.3 to 5.3 ounces. These owls have a wingspan of 16.5 to 18.9 inches. Northern Saw-whet Owls have a “non-breeding (scarce)” range in Arkansas and are considered threatened in the state. They are nocturnal and highly elusive, making them difficult to find. Northern Saw-whet Owls are common in the northern parts of North America and are known for their distinctive call, which sounds like a saw being sharpened on a whetting stone.
Binoculars and Spotting Scopes
To increase your chances of spotting these fascinating owl species, it is recommended to have binoculars or a spotting scope. These optical tools allow you to observe owls from a distance without disturbing them. A good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope can greatly enhance your bird-watching experience and help you appreciate the beauty of these magnificent creatures.
In conclusion, Arkansas is home to a diverse range of owl species. The Eastern Screech-owl, Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Barred Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, and the Northern Saw-whet Owl can all be found within the state. Each of these species has its own unique characteristics and behaviors, making them a fascinating group to study and observe. By understanding their physical attributes, habitat, diet, nesting behavior, and more, you can enhance your owl-watching experience in Arkansas. So grab your binoculars, head out into nature, and enjoy the wonders of these magnificent owls.