Little Owl

Athene noctua


The diminutive little owl is diurnal and hunts invertebrates, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and small birds. It's often seen perched on telegraph poles, on branches in old trees in parkland or along hedgerows, or on rocks, from where it quietly scans the ground for prey. Once spotted, the little owl swoops down and catches its victim with either its claws or beak. Little owls breed between March and August, forming monogamous pairs and nesting in hollow trees.

How to identify

Unmistakeable: the little owl is a small, brown, short-tailed, yellow-eyed owl.

Where to find it

England, Wales and southern Scotland.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

In some parts of Europe, the little owl is undergoing declines due to changing farming practices, road deaths and persecution. Therefore, the population of little owls in Britain could be important in the future. The Wildlife Trusts manage nature reserves across town and country to benefit all kinds of wildlife. Help us to help wildlife by joining, volunteering or getting involved in a campaign.

Species information

Common name
Little Owl
Latin name
Athene noctua
Birds of prey
Length: 21-23cm Wingspan: 56cm Weight: 180g Average Lifespan: 3 years
Conservation status
Introduced species. Listed under CITES Appendix II.