How to Find Little Owls

Look & Listen

The Little Owl is a fantastic species to seek out because you can see and hear them during daylight hours and find them at night by listening out for their calls. Little Owls could be living closer to you than you think! Here are some tips on how to find Little Owls in the wild.

Where to Find Little Owls
The Little Owl is a resident bird in the UK and established pairs occupy their territory all year round. You can find Little Owls living on lowland farmland, scrubland, in rural and urban parks, large gardens, quarries, orchards and villages. Little Owls prefer a territory with a patchwork of different habitats, which could include grassland, hedgerows, fences, tree lines, scrub and open-sided farm buildings. It is common to find Little Owls living near cattle, sheep and horses.

Little Owls are often seen perching on exposed branches, fence posts, telegraph poles and barn roofs, so keep your eyes peeled when taking a walk in the countryside or a park. They are most active from dawn until dusk, but often hunt in the daytime during the breeding season. Little Owls are very partial to sunbathing, so be on the lookout on a still and sunny day!

Little Owl sunset © Andy Parkinson
Little Owl – Juvenile with Shrew © Liz Cutting @

Click here to see other stunning examples of Little Owls perching and in flight in a variety of habitats.
Arkive Little Owl Link: Click Here

Listen Out For Their calls
You can also find Little Owls by listening out for their far-reaching calls. The adults are very vocal from March until late July and make contact calls to each other from dusk until dawn. Another good tip is to listen out for raspy juvenile begging calls, which can be heard from mid-May until late summer during the day and at night.

MP3 Audio File Please listen below for excellent examples of adult and juvenile Little Owl calls.

We are indebted to The Stationary Office, Scottish Natural Heritage and Geoff Sample who have both given their permission for HOT to add this series of Little Owl calls to this website. Track 21: Little Owl Athene noctua from Raptor Calls: Britain and Ireland, CD.
Accompanies Raptors: a field guide to survey and monitoring (2007) by Hardey, J., Crick, H., Wernham, C., Riley, H., Etheridge, B. and Thompson, D.
The Stationary Office Limited, Edinburgh. Second Edition. ISBN 978 0 11 497321 6 | Produced by © Geoff Sample, Wildsong Studios.