Owl Species in Arkansas – All You Need To Know

Burrowing Owls perching on tree trunk

Owl Species In Arkansas

Hot springs, rivers, lakes, woodlands, and grasslands may all be found in Arkansas’ diverse geography. Owls, as well as a wide variety of other bird species, may be found in this area because of the vast open space.

What kind of owls may be found in Arkansas, with such a high number of owls?

The “Natural State” of Arkansas is home to the Barn Owl, Barred Owl, Burrowing Owl, Eastern Screech-Wolf, Long-eared Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Short-eared Owl, and Snowy Owl. A few owl species are year-round inhabitants, while others are very uncommon and only seen at certain times of year.

Learn more about these intriguing animals in the next few paragraphs! Surely you didn’t know that!

The following is a list of owls based on historical sighting records. Although some birds mentioned are rare and difficult to see, we’ve included them since they are still sometimes spotted in Arkansas.

i. Barn Owls

  • Tyto alba
  • Length: 33 cm to 39 cm
  • Wingspan: 80 cm to 95 cm
  • Weight: 250 g to 350 g 
  • Best time: Winter is the only time of year that you’ll see this species.

Barn Owls - Owl Species in Arkansas

Barn owls may be seen all year round in Arkansas, although they are hard to notice. Barn Owls are easily identifiable by their heart-shaped face disc, smaller eyes, bare toes, long legs, serrated claws, and short square tails.

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They have a wide spectrum of skin tones, from yellow to cinnamon. These owls are known as “barn owls” because of their habit of roosting in barns, where they may hunt for food.

It’s rare to see them in cities or the suburbs, since they tend to live on farms or in other rural locations.

ii. Eastern Screech Owl

  • Megascops asio
  • Length: 16 cm to 25 cm in length
  • Wingspan: 48 cm to 61 cm
  • Weight: 170 gm to 190 gm is the ideal weight
  • Best time: During the year

Eastern Screech-owl - Owl Species in Arkansas

The Eastern Screech-owl, a year-round inhabitant of Arkansas, is a small but powerful bird, the size of a robin and weighing less than a pound. They eat songbirds, rodents, and a variety of insects as their principal food source.

They are able to swoop down on their victims because of their ability to blend in with the surrounding environment. An Eastern Screech-owl may be lurking in the area where songbirds are screeching and flapping their wings.

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The Eastern Screech-Owl has a reddish body with black face discs, ear tufts, spotted white shoulders, and blotchy-streaked stomachs that you can distinguish.

iii. Great Horned Owl

  • Bubo virginianus
  • Length: 46 cm to 63 cm
  • Wingspan: ~140 cm
  • Weight: 910 gm to 2.5 kg
  • Best time: During the year

Great Horned Owl - Owl Species in Arkansas

In addition to being a year-round resident of Arkansas, the Great Horned Owl is the state’s biggest and most common owl. Because they are so gorgeous, owls are precisely what we imagine when we think of owls.

With their bright yellow eyes, large ears, and generous size, these birds are easy to spot. They are the only birds known to capture and consume skunks, as well as rodents, on the planet.

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The Red-tailed Hawk’s ferocious adversaries and predators include Arkansas is a great place to find one, since they may thrive in a range of environments, from backyards to woods.

iv. The Snowy Owl

  • Bubo scandiiacus
  • Length: 53 cm to 66 cm
  • Wingspan: 125 cm to 166 cm
  • Weight: 710 g to 2.95 kg
  • Best time: Winter is the most probable time of year for this to happen

Snowy Owl - Owl Species in Arkansas

Snowy owl sightings in Arkansas are extremely rare, occurring only in the winter months of December and January. Despite the rarity, there have been reports of snowy owl sightings in Arkansas in the past.

They only stay in the southern states for two months, since they were born and raised in cooler regions. There are several places where you may locate the snowy owl.

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Known as the snowy owl because of its white feathers, this owl nests among lemmings and other rodents in the Arctic. There have also been reports of huge birds being taken by the snowy owl, such as geese.

v. Burrowing Owl

  • Athene cunicularia
  • Length: 19 cm to 25
  • Wingspan: 51 cm to 61 cm
  • Weight: ~170g
  • Best time: Irregular, but frequent from September to April

Burrowing Owl - Owl Species in Arkansas

This is a burrowing owl. The moment you see the owl’s head nodding in a rhythmic pattern, you know it’s Because of its unusual look and habits, this species is a favorite with bird trackers.

They may be smaller than other owl species and may be found in rural areas. You can tell them apart by their light brown feathers with white patches. The older an owl gets, the more spots it has. They’re short and square, the tails have a bright yellow tint to them.

They eat huge insects, reptiles, rodents, and fish while hunting throughout the day or night. This owl is most often seen in Arkansas between September and April, but it is a rare and elusive species.

vi. The Barred Owl

  • Strik varia
  • Length: 43 cm to 50 cm
  • Wingspan: 31.5 cm to 35.5 cm
  • Weight: 400 gm to 1 kg
  • Best time: During the year

Barred Owl - Owl Species in Arkansas

Barred owls may be seen year-round in Arkansas thanks to a well-established population, although they can be difficult to locate.

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The tail and wings of this species are speckled with brown and white spots, making it easy to identify. There is something frightening about their black eyes, which have a few light brown streaks in them.

Nesting in tree cavities or nest boxes, the Barred Owl is a non-migratory species that dwells in the woods. The Great Horned Owl is their primary predator, although they also prey on small rodents and insects.

vii. Long Eared Owl

  • Asio otus
  • Length: 37 cm to 35 cm
  • Wingspan: 84 cm to 95 cm
  • Weight: ~371 gm
  • Best time: October through April is the most usual time of year

Long Eared Owl - Owl Species in Arkansas

The Long-eared Owl, as its name suggests, is a medium-sized owl that is not prevalent in Arkansas. Between October and April, you’ll have the highest chance of seeing this bird in the wild.

One of the most difficult birds to see is the Northern Cardinal. This species, which may be found throughout North America, is a stealthy flier. Because of this, the long-eared owl is a superb nocturnal predator of rodents and insects such as mice and rats.

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For hunting purposes, they like to live in open areas such as fields and marshes. Long ears, golden eyes, a rounded facial disc, a spotted underside, and striped wings help to identify this species.

viii. Short Eared Owl

  • Asio flammeus
  • Length: 34 cm to 42 cm
  • Wingspan: ~At 90 cm
  • Weight: 260 gm to 350 gm
  • Best time: From October until April

Short Eared Owl - Owl Species in Arkansas

During the winter months, the short-eared owl is most active in Arkansas. Arrival is usually in October and departure is usually in late March or early February.

During their hunting travels, they may be seen in brushy areas or wide fields at twilight or in the morning. Owls may be spotted perched on the ground, waiting for prey to arrive.

The small ears, bright eyes, circular face disc, and brown and white patterned feathers of this species make it easy to recognize.

ix. Northern Saw Whet Owl

  • Aegolius acadicus
  • Length: ~ 21.5 cm
  • Wingspan: 45 cm to 60 cm
  • Weight: ~100 gm
  • Best time: Between October and February, although very uncommon

Northern Saw-Whet Owl - Owl Species in Arkansas

Between October and February, the Northern Saw-whet Owl may be observed in Arkansas, one of the smallest birds of prey in the US and the smallest owl in the state.

However, they are on the state’s endangered species list, so you may never have a chance to see one. Because they are nocturnal hunters, these animals spend the night in the forest, where they catch and eat very tiny rodents and insects.

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This type of owl eats mice and other rodents twice a day, unlike other owls. When they call, it sounds like a saw being sharpened on an old whetting stone, thus the name.

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