Little owl

Species profile

Name: the little owl (Athene noctua) – also known as the owl of Athena or owl of Minerva – is a small member of the owl family.

Appearance: little owls have plump bodies, short tails, and flat-topped heads with frowning expressions. They are usually a greyish-brown colour with white spots or streaks.

Size: they measure around 22 cm in length with a wingspan of 56 cm and a weight of 180 grams.

Diet: little owls feed on insects, earthworms, and small mammals.

Did you know: the little owl is closely associated with the Greek goddess Athena and the Roman goddess Minerva, representing wisdom and knowledge. A little owl with an olive branch appears on a Greek coin from 500 BC and a bronze statue of Athena holding one in her hand. The call of a little owl was thought to have heralded the murder of Julius Caesar. In Romanian folklore, the little owl is said to be a harbinger of death. While in the 1990s, the little owl appeared as a watermark on the 100 guilder banknote in the Netherlands.

Location: they can be found in a range of habitats including farmland, woodlands, steppes, and semi-deserts across much of Europe, Asia, and North Africa.

Where to see little owls

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see little owls in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Peckham Rye
England
3%
very low
3.1
good
30
reports

Photo credit: No-longer-here under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay

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