Little owl (Athene noctua)

Order: Family Genus Specie:
Strigiformes Strigidae Athene Athene noctua



Species of small size and plump shape. Its size is 24 cm with a wingspread of 50 cm and 150 gr weight. It has no tufts, facial disk is not well defined and has white “eyebrows”. The eyes are yellow. It has white feathered tarsus and toes with white-gray bristles.

Unlike European Scops Owl, the flight is undulating. Its small size and round shape makes it unmistakable when perched.


It takes up a great variety of habitats, preferably sparsely wooded areas (pastures, olive …) and avoids dense forests and mountainous areas.

Status and Distribution

Frequent in the peninsula, Athene noctua vidalii is evenly distributed through our territory (except for mountainous areas). It is not found in the islands. It behaves as sedentary.


It has diurnal and crepuscular habits, so it is easy to find it perched on telephone poles, stumps, etc. at sunset.

It hunts mostly from small perches. It is the most land nocturnal raptor.


It is a very generalist species, its diet varies seasonally depending on the availability of resources. Mainly insectivorous in summer, in winter basically feeds on small mammals.


It doesn´t build a nest, laying inside holes of trees, buildings or other cavities.

Laying occurs in April-June. Eggs, 3 to 5, are white and almost elliptical and are placed with intervals of 1-2 days. They are incubated for 28-33 days and the chicks leave the nest at 30-35 days of age, not flying until a week later.

Conservation Status

(National Catalog of Threatened Species of Spain)

Of Special Interest

Distribution map