9 Types Of Owls In Nevada (With Photos)

Many people adore owls because they are mysterious and wise. Because of their camouflage and nocturnal habits, most of us never see them, making them even more intriguing.

It’s also possible to make you wonder how many distinct species of owls may be discovered in my neighborhood? We’ll take a look at owls in Nevada, including information on the state’s various owl species, their size and appearance, as well as where they may be found.


Barn owl, burrowing owl, flammulated owl, great horned owl, long-eared owl, northern pygmy owl, northern saw-whet Owl, and western screech Owl are the nine kinds of owls that typically occur in Nevada.


  • Scientific name: Tyto alba
  • Length: 12.6-15.8 in
  • Wingspan: 39.4-49.2 in
  • Weight: 14.1-24.7 oz

Throughout much of the United States, including Nevada, barn owls may be found year-round. Grasslands, fields, ranches, agricultural land, and strips of forest are their preferred open habitats.

Barn owls prefer to build their nests in barns, attics, and church steeples, because they like the eaves and beams. One explanation for their name is that they were given it like this. Tree holes, caverns, and cliff sides are also used as nests. During the day, Barn Owls are uncommon to spot since they are quite nocturnal.

They fly low over fields at dusk and through the night, using their exceptional hearing to detect mice and other rodents. If you see them in low light, their huge, ghostly white face and belly might be a creepy sight!


  • Scientific name: Athene cunicularia
  • Length: 7.5-9.8 in
  • Wingspan: 21.6 in
  • Weight: 5.3 oz

During the breeding season, Nevada is home to Burrowing Owls.

These owls are tiny, with lengthy legs and burrows where they reside. They may dig their own holes or they may take over holes abandoned by other species such as prairie dogs or ground squirrels. Man-made obstacles such as pipes, buckets, and culverts have been discovered to be utilized by them for burrows.

In open environments such as deserts and grasslands, you may find them. Since they are relatively tiny in comparison to the vast open landscape they call home, and have barely peeked above the horizon when in their burrows. Dawn and dusk are the busiest times for burrowing owls.


  • Scientific name: Psiloscops flammeolus
  • Length: 5.9-6.7 in
  • Weight: 1.5-2.2 oz
  • Wingspan:15.9-16.1

In isolated areas of Nevada, the Flammulated Owl breeds in small numbers. Spring Mountains NRA, Great Basin NP, and Island Lake are a few places where you might find them.

Because they spend the most of their time in the upper branches of huge evergreen trees, these owls are very difficult to detect. Sound is probably the easiest way to find them. They utter a repeated, low-pitched call.

They consume mostly flying insects, such as crickets, moths, and beetles, which they catch at night. They’re well disguised and look like screech-owls, except with shorter ear-tufts, and have reddish gray feathers.


  • Scientific name: Bubo virginianus
  • Length: 18.1 – 24.8 in
  • Wingspan: 39.8 – 57.1 in
  • Weight: 32.1 – 88.2 oz

Because of their enormous size, yellow eyes, and “horns” of feathers that protrude out on either side of their head, great horned owls are one of the most prevalent and well-known owls in North America. Throughout Nevada, you’ll find them all year.

Forests, swamps, deserts, and urban settings like city parks are among the habitats where these owls may be found. The majority of their plumage is a cool or warm brown color, however it may vary.

Mammalian, avian, reptile, insect, and fish constitute the broad diet of great horned owls. Their hoot is the most prevalent sound heard when people think of owls, and it’s often utilized in television and films.


  • Scientific name: Asio otus
  • Length: 13.8 – 15.8 in (height)
  • Wingspan: 35.4 – 39.4 in
  • Weight: 7.8 – 15.3 oz

Nevada is home to long-eared owls all year. Pine stands or woodlands near grassland and pastures are where they prefer to live.

Their round face pattern, pointed face disc, and long feather tufts that shoot straight upward may give them a perpetual surprised look with their vibrant yellow eyes, white V shaped facial pattern. Great horned owls can be identified by their extremely rounded face with a white V.

They are difficult to detect due to their great concealment and roosting in thick woodlands, which is hidden. During the spring and summer months, you may hear their long, low hoots.


  • Scientific name: Glaucidium gnoma
  • Length: 6.4-7.1 in
  • Weight: 2.1-2.5 oz
  • Wingspan: 14.5–16 in

In the hilly western United States, and to a lesser extent in Nevada, Northern Pygmy-Owls are widely distributed. Fletcher Spring and Great Basin National Park are the major attractions in this region. They’re active during the day, which makes sighting them a little simpler than most nocturnal owls, but they’re also fairly tiny and prefer to sit quietly waiting for prey — so you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled.

Try to get a feel for their high-pitched toots and calls so you’ll have a better idea of where to look for them. Songbirds in groups may be noisy, so pay attention to them. They’ll often mob a Northern Pygmy-Owl if they spot it and attempt to scare it away. Since it regularly eats little song birds, they don’t want this owl around.

The heads of northern pygmy-owls are extremely circular, with no ear tufts. They have a brown head and back with white specks, with vertical brown stripes on their belly.


  • Scientific name: Aegolius acadicus
  • Length: 7.1-8.3 inches
  • Weight: 2.3-5.3 oz
  • Wingspan: 16.5-18.9 inches

The head is spherical and the eyes are yellow in northern saw-whet owls. These owls are particularly difficult to find for a number of reasons, in addition to their tiny size.

When they’re perched motionlessly on a branch, their mottled brown plumage blends in easily to the trees around them. Because these owls are naturally quiet and only awake at night, you won’t see them unless it’s dark outside.

Learning the call and listening for them at night, especially between January and May, is the best bet for finding a northern saw-whet owl. They are known as the “saw-whet” owl because of their unique cry, which resembles a blade being sharpened on a whetstone. Their whistle call is a series of the same pitch whistled notes.

The menu of this owl includes little mammals like mice and voles, and they prefer thick and mature woodlands. In Nevada, they are mostly winter residents, although some may stay year-round in the western region.


  • Scientific name: Asio flammeus
  • Length: 15 in
  • Wingspan: 38 in
  • Weight: 12 oz

You may observe short-eared owls year-round in the northwestern half of Nevada, as well as throughout the winter in the remainder of the state, but they spend most of their time in Canada and northern United States during summer.

They have “ear tuft” feathers, as the name suggests, although they are so short that they are almost never visible. They have yellow eyes, like many owls, with a black ring around them that really makes the color stand out.

In accordance with the population of their prey, such as moles, rats, rabbits, and weasels, their populations in a given region might change from year to year.

They are particularly vulnerable to habitat destruction and fragmentation from the vast open grasslands they need to be transformed into farm land, grazing land, leisure areas, and housing development, thus their populations are thought to be declining overall.

They are actually distributed all throughout the world, and they can cross large distances across open water.


  • Scientific name: Megascops kennicottii
  • Length: 7.5 – 9.8 in
  • Wingspan: 21.6 – 24.4 in
  • Weight: 3.5 – 10.8 oz

Western Screech-Owls may be found in a variety of states throughout western North America, from the Pacific Coast to Texas. They can be found all year in Nevada, both above and below the surface.

Between the eastern and western types, there are no notable differences in appearance. Hoots are a little different for each of them. The western screech owl has a succession of quick hoots, whereas the eastern variety has a descending whinny. Their ranges do not typically overlap.

In both rural and urban environments, they breed in tree hollows. Its flawlessly disguised feathers make it exceedingly difficult to detect them when they’re hiding inside tree cavities. These tiny, stocky-bodied owls have short tails and are robin-sized. While they’re roosting in holes during the day, their mostly gray-brown plumage and streaky undersides blend them in wonderfully against trees.

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