The short-eared owl resembles long-eared owl but its coloration is more yellow and ‘ears’ are hardly visible. The bird’s back is ocher-brown; the low part is slightly lighter and has longitudinal stripes. The flight is slow and wiggly low above the ground. The owl often flies at day-time. The hunt begins at twilight. Unlike other owls the short-eared one does not sit on trees but willingly sits down on poles and perches and uses ground to pass the night and take a rest. The voice is a sequence of ascending sounds “boo-boo-boob” and “quiaw-quiaw” clang.

Generally the bird eats mouse-like rodents (lemmings – in northern regions). The owl population during ‘mousy’ years increases dramatically. When there are few rodents the owl often feeds on small birds: snowflakes and sandpipers. Compared to other owls it more frequently becomes a prey of goshawks and big falcons.

The owl lives in an open landscape preferring flood plains, meadows, swamps, lake shores and farmlands. It occurs widely and can be considered as the most common and numerous owl species in Siberia. It is common for southern and central forest steppes and steppes, in sub-boreal forests, southern and central taiga.

The bird nests on the ground making its nest from dried grass, often under a shrub. In forest tundra it arranges the nest on hillocks among moss, lichen and dwarf birches. There are generally 4-6 eggs in a set and up to 10 eggs during periods of food abundance. Sometimes there is a second egg-laying (in the years when there is a lot of mouse-like rodents).


This is a medium-sized owl with long (up to 55 mm) ears. The bird’s weight is 250-300 grams. The upper part of the body is greyish-brown with dark marble pattern; the bottom is reddish-yellow with large longitudinal stripes and fine lateral pattern. It is a strictly nocturnal bird. In day-time the owl sits in a stretched position having flattened itself against a tree trunk.

At this time it can allow a human to approach very closely. The mating flight is a zigzag from one tree to another. The voice sounds like a dull “hoo-hoo” or woeful “ou-ou-ou”. In autumn the owls sometimes gather in small flocks. It is both migratory and partially resident bird; at certain years individual birds winter in Krasnoyarsk forest steppe.

The bird feeds on mouse-like rodents, less frequently – on birds.
The owl populates forest of the southern Krasnoyarsk Territory, forest steppes, forest-meadow landscapes, sometimes it enters piedmont taiga. It is very common in forest steppe and near Krasnoyarsk; common in Minusinsk and Achinsk forest steppe; present in Sayans piedmont and may be found in Usinsk kettle hole. Generally the owl makes nest in other birds’ old nests, mostly the magpies’ ones and sometimes in trees hollows. There are 4-6 white eggs in a set.