7 Species of Owls in Arkansas (With Pictures)

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There are 7 species of owls in Arkansas that I could confirm have a range in the state based on various sources including allaboutbirds.org and other authoritative sources. Those species are the Barn Owl, Eastern Screech-owl, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, and the Northern Saw-whet Owl.

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The 7 types of Owls in Arkansas

1. Eastern Screech-owl

Length: 6.3-9.8 in 
Weight: 4.3-8.6 oz 
Wingspan: 18.9-24.0 in 

The Eastern Screech-owl is a permanent resident to Arkansas throughout the whole state. These small owls are only about the size of a robin and feed on various insects, rodents, and songbirds. Eastern Screech-owls are highly camouflaged and blend in very well with the trees they nest in, which is where you’ll likely spot one. Listen for songbirds fussing and giving predator alarms, it could mean that an Eastern Screech-owl is nearby. Screech-owl pairs mate for life and are known to accept nesting boxes if provided.


2. Great Horned Owl

Length: 18.1-24.8 in
Weight: 32.1-88.2 oz
Wingspan: 39.8-57.1 in

The Great Horned Owl is easily the largest owl in Arkansas. They are also what many of us think of when we think of owls because they are in so many pictures and seem to be very photogenic. Great Horned Owls are easily recognized by their large size, ear tufts, and yellow eyes. They are the only bird known to regularly kill and eat skunks. They are also known to be an enemy of other raptors such as the Red-tailed Hawk. These fierce predators have very little to be concerned about in their territory.


3. Barn Owl

Length: 12.6-15.8 in
Weight: 14.1-24.7 oz
Wingspan: 39.4-49.2 in

Barn Owls are statewide residents of Arkansas but are highly elusive and rarely seen. They are also one of the most widely distributed birds in the entire world. The Barn Owl is easily identified by their beautiful plumage and heart-shaped face. They got their name because they actually do nest in many man-made structures including barns, their population is thought to be on the decline in Arkansas.


4. Barred Owl

Length: 16.9-19.7 in
Weight: 16.6-37.0 oz
Wingspan: 39.0-43.3 in

The Barred Owl has a stable population throughout all of Arkansas. They are known to be very vocal with a call that sounds like they are saying; “Who cooks for you, Who cooks for you all? ” As with most owls, they are not always easy to spot. The Barred Owl is commonly active in the day time giving you a better chance to see one that some other nocturnal only owls. These non-migratory owls live in forests and nest in tree cavities but will take to nest boxes. The Great Horned Owl is their biggest predator.


5. Long-eared owl

Length: 13.8-15.8 in
Weight: 7.8-15.3 oz
Wingspan: 35.4-39.4 in

This medium sized owl has a non-breeding, or winter, range in Arkansas according to allaboutbirds.org. They migrate to parts of northern U.S. and Canada to their breeding grounds each year. Long-eared Owls are stealthy flyers that are excellent nocturnal hunters. As the name suggests, they can easily be identified by their extra long ears. They roost in large numbers during the winter which makes them a little easier to find.


6. Short-eared owl

Length: 13.4-16.9 in
Weight: 7.3-16.8 oz 
Wingspan: 33.5-40.5 in

Short-eared Owls can be seen in Arkansas during the non-breeding season, so winter is the best time to spot one in the state. They arrive in late November and leave by mid March. If you are lucky enough to see one it will likely during that time frame. They are commonly seen in open fields or brushy areas around dawn or dusk when they are hunting. They have a wide distribution in North America and can be found in every state.


7. Northern Saw-whet owl

Length: 7.1-8.3 in
Weight: 2.3-5.3 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-18.9 in

Slightly smaller than the Eastern Screech-owl, not only is the Saw-whet the smallest of owls in Arkansas but one of the smallest birds of prey in the entire country. They have a “non-breeding (scarce)” range in the state and are listed as threatened in Arkansas. Northern Saw-whet owls are nocturnal and highly elusive making them hard to find. They’re one of the most common forest owls in the northern parts of North America. They earned their name because one of their calls was thought to sound similar to a saw being sharpened on a whetting stone.

Want to increase your chances of spotting one of these raptors?

Consider some binoculars or a spotting scope!

The 5 Best Binoculars For Bird Watching
The 5 Best Spotting Scopes
About Jesse

Jesse enjoys bird watching and feeding birds in his backyard, learning about the different species, and sharing his knowledge and experiences.

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