Snowy owl in exhibit

Eastern Screech Owl

Scientific Name
Megascops asio
Geographic Range
North America, east of the Rocky Mountains
Small prey, including rodents, birds, lizards, frogs, fish, and large insects
Eastern screech owl in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

More Information

Eastern screech owls are small; larger ones have a height of less than 10 inches. Their wingspans can be 24 inches long. Their feathers are mostly gray, but may also be reddish-brown, with a complex pattern that provides good camouflage against tree bark. They have pointed ear tufts and yellow eyes and bills. Their ears are asymmetrical, located at different heights on their head. This allows owls to pinpoint the locations of sounds in multiple dimensions.

These nocturnal birds do not migrate but may move around locally during winters or times of food shortages. They nest in tree cavities, including abandoned woodpecker holes. Courtship lasts from late January to mid-March, and pairs are usually monogamous. Females lay four to five eggs per clutch starting in early March and they hatch after about 26 days. Both parents feed their young, which fledge around May.

Did You Know?

  • Owls have tube-shaped eyes that are so large they can’t move in their sockets. To compensate, the birds can rotate their neck up to 270 degrees in any direction.
  • Owls also have blood-pooling systems that collect blood to keep the brain and eye functional when neck movement cuts off circulation.
  • They also have serrated flying feathers that help muffle the sound of their wings.
Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

Learn More

Support Your Zoo

Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

Animals Depend On People Too

When you ADOPT an animal, you support world-class animal care by helping to provide specially formulated diets, new habitat elements, and regular veterinary checkups.

Adopt an Animal

Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

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.

Browse the Wish List

African penguin eating a fish

Take Action With Us

Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

Take Action

Empty Playlist