Snowy owl in exhibit

Eastern Screech Owl

Scientific Name

Megascops asio

Class

Aves

Order

Strigiformes

Range

East of the Rocky Mountains, from Canada to Mexico

Habitat

Woodlands near open fields or bodies of water

Estimated Wild Population

Estimated 560,000
Eastern screech owl in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

Eastern screech owls are a mix of white, gray, and reddish-brown—coloration that helps them blend into the branches and trees. These predators can reach up to nine inches tall with a wingspan of nearly two feet. Females are slightly larger than males. They prey on a wide variety of insects and small animals, including mice, snakes, lizards, salamanders, and small birds. Females lay eggs in tree cavities, hollows, and even abandoned woodpecker holes, and breeding pairs often return to the same nest year after year.

Interesting Fact 1

Eastern screech owls don't build a nest. Instead, females lay their eggs directly on the layer of fur and feathers left over from their previous meals, which lines the bottom of their den.

Interesting Fact 2

Their serrated flying feathers help muffle the sound of their flapping wings, enabling them to sneak up on their prey.

Interesting Fact 3

Their yellow eyes are so large that they can't move in their sockets. In order to look around, they have to turn their neck, which can rotate up to 270 degrees in either direction.

Animal Care staff working with seal

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Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

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The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.  

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