Florida, also known as the sunshine state, is home to 525 species of birds. The state has bountiful savannas, grasslands, and pine forests. One of the many types of birds inhabiting the state is an owl. Owls are regal-looking birds who are descended from two branches -the Strigidae (true owls), and the Tytonidae (barn owls). These birds have flat faces with large eyes and a small beak. They are nocturnal carnivores and prefer to feed on rodents. Even though many people often perceive these creatures to be cute and therefore friendly, this is not the case.
Owls are known to be aggressive and solitary creatures. They produce eerie hooting noises. These birds have superb hearing, enhanced nocturnal vision, and stealth. In many cultures, these birds are believed to be the epitome of wisdom. In Florida, owls can be found in several habitats, in both residential areas as well as natural woodlands. Female owls are larger in size than their male counterparts. The following is a list of 7 types of owls in Florida,
Types Of Owls in Florida
1. Barred Owl
Barred Owls are one of the most common species of owls found in the sunshine state. With a weight of 720 gm, a wingspan of upto 111 cm, and an average life span of 23 years, the Barred Owl is a medium-sized owl. One of the birds chirping at night have a pattern of light and dark brown stripes on their tail, back, and wings. They have a yellow beak and large dark eyes. They can be found across the wooded habitats of Florida- coniferous forests, deciduous forests, large parks with mature trees, and especially in dead trees, throughout the year. These birds feed on small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and fish.
Also Read: 10 Different Types of Wasps in Florida
2. Barn Owl
These owls are seen less commonly in the state. They have a wingspan of upto 110 cm, weight from 430 to 620 gm, and a life span of 4 years. Barn Owls have a white heart-shaped face, and tan and grey feathers on their backs and wings while their chests are covered in white feathers. These types of owls are known to occupy barns, and other abandoned structures, although they prefer open fields and marshlands. They have an eerie hoot and are also called demon owls or ghost owls. They eat voles, mice, and other rodents.
3. Eastern Screech Owl
These owls are known to be the smallest owls to inhabit Florida. Eastern Screech Owls have a wingspan ranging from 46 to 61 cm and weigh approximately 160 gm. They can live upto 14 years. These owls have broad wings and short tails, which helps them adapt to and live in small tree cavities. They have ear tufts and a pale yellow beak. Eastern Screech Owls are fairly common in Florida and can be seen throughout the year, across a variety of habitats- forests, swamps, and even residential areas. They mainly feed on rabbits, skunks, and rats.
4. Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owls are the largest owls found in Florida. They are large owls weighing upto 1.4 kg, with a massive wingspan of upto 140 cm. They live upto 28 years. These owls can be found in open areas, with sufficient space between trees. It has big horn-like tufts on its head and has a patterned grey and brown plumage. It usually preys on small to medium-sized mammals and rodents such as skunks, squirrels, and rats.
5. Burrowing Owl
These owls have a wingspan of 51 to 61 cm and weigh roughly 150 gm. They are more common in southern Florida. It is unique in its nesting habits and resides in burrows on the ground. Burrowing Owls have spotted feathers and long grey legs which help them spend more time on the ground than in the sky. Another habit that sets them apart from their owl brethren is that they are active during the day, and can cohabitate with and tolerate humans. They feed on insects, reptiles, and small mammals.
6. Short-Eared Owl
Short-Eared Owls have a wingspan ranging from 85 to 110 cm and weigh upto 475 gm. These birds can be identified by their short ears, short tails, and their short grey, brown and black feathers with white markings. They have striking yellow eyes surrounded by dark brown rims. They prefer nesting on the grounds and thus, live in open meadows and fields where they can easily camouflage their homes. They are migratory in nature, and can only be seen in the state, during the winter months. They feed on squirrels, mice, and voles.
Image Source: Rick Leche – PhotographyFollow
7. Snowy Owls
Snowy Owls are known for their snow-white feathers and are listed as one the amazing animals with spots, brown or black specks, and amber eyes. They have a huge wingspan of approximately 150 cm, weigh upto 2 kg, and have an average life span of a decade. These owls are a very rare sight in Florida. Highly popular as Hedwig from the Harry Potter series, these owls prefer to nest on heights away from human disturbance. They are active during the day and night. They are known to feed on birds, fish, rodents, amphibians, and rabbits.
These are the types of owls in Florida. Kindly share and do post your comments.