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Short-eared Owl g14-12-019 l.jpg

The short-eared owl (Asio flammeus)’s scientific name flammeus, meaning “fiery”, is a reference to its boldly streaked plumage, which provides excellent camouflage when concealed amongst vegetation. This species has a large round head, with a white-bordered facial disc, and striking yellow eyes framed with black. The plumage is mostly mottled brown and buff on the upperparts, with black bars on the wings and tail feathers, while the breast is whitish or pale buff, with dense vertical streaking. The underwing is buffish-white, with a black tip, and a distinctive ochre patch just beyond the mid-wing, on the leading edge. The female short-eared owl is slightly larger than the male, with heavier streaking and browner upperparts, while the juvenile is darker still, with a brownish-black facial disc. There are ten recognised subspecies of short-eared owl, which vary in terms of location and colouration.