A large number of owl species have adapted to dwell in suburban or urban park and leisure areas, and Louisiana’s marshes and woods are a fantastic habitat for them. These magnificent birds, especially those that keep rodent populations down, are tremendous assets to our societies. We’ll take a look at photos for each of the eight species of owls in Louisiana and learn a few facts about them below.
8 TYPES OF OWLS IN LOUISIANA
1. GREAT HORNED OWL
Scientific name: Bubo virginianus
Length: 18.1-24.8 in (46-63 cm)
Weight: 32.1-88.2 oz (910-2500 g)
Wingspan: 39.8-57.1 in (101-145 cm)
The Big Horned Owl is the state’s biggest owl species. The deciduous and evergreen woods, as well as the bogs in the state, are all excellent habitats for these birds, as they can adapt to practically any environment (as shown by their presence across North America).
In late winter, Great Horned Owls start nesting earlier than most other owls. They have a diverse diet that may include skunks and other birds of prey, as well as hunting in broad daylight on occasion.
2. BARN OWL
Scientific name: Tyto alba
Length: 12.6-15.8 in (32-40 cm)
Weight: 14.1-24.7 oz (400-700 g)
Wingspan: 39.4-49.2 in (100-125 cm)
Barn Owls prefer open spaces like fields to hunt, as evidenced by their name. They do like to nest in old barns and other sheltered areas. Barn Owls migrate south for the winter, so Louisiana is their year-round habitat.
Many scientific studies show that Barn Owls may hunt solely by sound, despite their superb low-light vision. Parasitic and infectious diseases are said to be less common in female Barn Owls with more spots on their bellies than in those with fewer.
3. BURROWING OWL
Scientific name: Athene cunicularia
Length: 7.5-9.8 in (19-25 cm)
Weight: 5.3 oz (150 g)
Wingspan: 21.6 in (55 cm)
The nests of Burrowing Owls are built on the sites of prairie dogs and ground squirrels. They favor wide grasslands to the west, but in the winter, they will go south into southwestern Louisiana, especially. They are becoming increasingly rare in this state, and their habitat is declining in general.
Burrowing Owls catch insects in midair and eat a large number of them (together with small mammals). Throughout the day, these birds may be seen hunting, especially during breeding season.
4. EASTERN SCREECH-OWL
Scientific name: Megascops asio
Length: 6.3-9.8 in (16-25 cm)
Weight: 4.3-8.6 oz (121-244 g)
Wingspan: 18.9-24.0 in (48-61 cm)
The Eastern Screech-owl, which is a year-round Louisiana resident, only grows as big as a robin. Suburban parks, with their plentiful trees for nesting and open ground for hunting, have even accommodated them.
Grey and red Screech-owls, both of which blend into trees extremely well, come in two color morphs. Owls eat lizards, bats, frogs, and crayfish in addition to the usual owl diet of small rodents.
5. NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL
Scientific name: Aegolius acadicus
Length: 7.1-8.3 in (18-21 cm)
Weight: 2.3-5.3 oz (65-151 g)
Wingspan: 16.5-18.9 in (42-48 cm)
The state of Louisiana is home to the northern Saw-whet Owls, who spend the winter south of there. Forests are their favorite habitat, and they hunt mostly at night.
6. BARRED OWL
Scientific name: Strix varia
Length: 16.9-19.7 in (43-50 cm)
Weight: 16.6-37.0 oz (470-1050 g)
Wingspan: 39.0-43.3 in (99-110 cm)
Louisiana is an ideal habitat for barred owls because they prefer marshes and ancient woodlands to build nests. They are rather frequent in the state, and instead of migrating or moving about much, they stay in one location for a long period of time.
In addition to their queries about cooking, they also asked: Barred Owl makes a broad variety of noises, including one that resembles a monkey, as it asks who cooks for you all. Although being only a little bit smaller than the Great Horned Owl, these bigger birds frequently attack them.
7. LONG-EARED OWL
Scientific name: Asio otus
Length: 13.8-15.8 in (35-40 cm)
Weight: 7.8-15.3 oz (220-435 g)
Wingspan: 35.4-39.4 in (90-100 cm)
Long-eared Owls are found far north of Louisiana, where they spend much of their time. These birds travel all the way from Canada to breed, but we only see them here during the winter because they head south.
These owls prefer to congregate in groups throughout the winter. They are hard to spot due to their excellent camouflage and tendency to roost in thick forests. They don’t construct their own nests, instead preferring to utilize those of other birds.
8. SHORT-EARED OWL
Scientific name: Asio flammeus
Length: 13.4-16.9 in (34-43 cm)
Weight: 7.3-16.8 oz (206-475 g)
Wingspan: 33.5-40.5 in (85-103 cm)
The Short-eared Owl can be found in fields, marshes, and airports, as well as open ground for hunting. It can be found in our state during the winter, preferring to breed farther north than Louisiana.
These owls are most active in the morning and at dusk, and are frequently seen during the day. As they wait for prey, they occasionally sit on the ground and fly very low before swooping down to capture whatever morsel comes their way.
WHERE TO SEE OWLS IN LOUISIANA:
There are several fantastic parks and natural areas in Louisiana for birdwatchers to explore. From wetland trails along the Gulf coast to Red River and Mississippi River trails, there are numerous birding routes that cover the state.
Several of Louisiana’s state parks have unique owl-viewing activities, and several of them have Owl Watch programs. For starting your birding excursions, Audubon Louisiana has comprehensive information and a wealth of great resources.
Further, local groups like the Baton Rouge Audubon Society and the Orleans Audubon Society are fantastic resources for discovering sites in your neighborhood where you may see the owls.
Also, if you live in an area that is a good home for one of these species of owls, consider getting a nesting box for them to live in and being a good steward to the other animals in your neighborhood.