Little Owl

Little Owl, Steenuil, Steinkauz, Mocho-galego, Mochuelo Europeo

Spotted in the Alentejo region of Portugal.                                      Little Owl sound

The Little Owl (Athene noctua) is a bird which is resident in much of the temperate and warmer parts of Europe, Asia east to Korea, and north Africa. It is not native to Great Britain, but was first introduced in 1842, and is now naturalised there. It was also successfully introduced to the South Island of New Zealand in the early 20th century.

Little Owl, Steenuil, Steinkauz, Mocho-galego, Mochuelo Europeo

This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae.

The Little Owl is a small owl, 23-27.5 cm in length. It takes prey such as insects, earthworms, amphibians, but also small birds and mammals. It is partly diurnal and often perches prominently during the day.

This is a sedentary species which is found in open country such as mixed farmland and parkland. It usually nests in holes in trees or rocks, laying 3-5 eggs which are incubated by the female for 28–29 days, with a further 26 days to fledging.

Little Owls will also nest in buildings, both abandoned and those fitted with custom owl nest boxes. If living in an area with a large amount of human activity, Little Owls may grow used to man and will remain on their perch, often in full view, while humans are around.

The adult Little Owl of the most widespread form, the nominate A. n. noctua, is white-speckled brown above, and brown-streaked white below. It has a large head, long legs, and yellow eyes, and its white “eyebrows” give it a stern expression. This species has a bounding flight like a woodpecker. Juveniles are duller, and lack the adult’s white crown spots. The call is a querulous kee-ik.

Other synonyms:

Breton: Ar gaouenn bihan
Catalan: Mussol comú
Catalan (Balears): Miula
Valencian: Xot
Welsh: Tylluan fach
Danish: Kirkeugle
German: Steinkauz
Emiliano-romagnolo: Chiù
English: Little Owl
Esperanto: noktuo
Spanish: Mochuelo Europeo
Estonian: Kivikakk
Basque: Mozoloa
Finnish: minervanpöllö
French: Chevêche d’Athéna
Frisian: stienûltsje
Irish: Ulchabhán Beag
Gaelic: Comhachag Bheag
Galician: Moucho
Manx: Hullad veg
Hungarian: Kuvik
Icelandic: Kattugla
Italian: Civetta comune
Japanese: kokimmefukurou
Cornish: Corula
Latin: Athene noctua
Lithuanian: peledike
Latvian: majas apogs
Malay: Burung Hantu Kuang Kuit
Maltese: Kokka tat-Tikki
Dutch: Steenuil
Norwegian: Kirkeugle
Polish: pójdzka zwyczajna
Portuguese: Mocho-galego
Romansh: Tschuetta da la mort
Romanian: cucuveaua
Sardinian: Puzone de s’istria, Puzone de s’istria
Scots: Comhachag bheag
Northern Sami: Minervaskuolfi
Slovak: kuvik placlivý
Albanian: Kukuvajka
Swedish: Minervauggla
Turkmen: kukumav
Turkish: Kukumav


Travel Birdwatching Holiday Alentejo, Vacation Portugal for birders guided birdwatching Tours and Trips.

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Guided Birdwatching in the Alentejo region of Portugal