Screech Owl

It’s difficult to distinguish between Eastern and Western Screech Owl species by sight - location is your best bet. However, they have distinctive voices, which is undoubtedly more important for these birds that are active mainly at night.


Roland Jordahl
Screech Owl
Roland Jordahl
Screech Owl


Screech OwlRoland Jordahl
Roland Jordahl Screech Owl

Scientific Names: Eastern – Megascops asio and Western – M. kennicottii.
Family: True owl.
Length: 8-1/2 inches.
Wingspan: 20 inches.
Distinctive Markings: The eastern screech-owl is Gray, red or brown with heavy streaks below and darker bars on back; small ear-like tufts on head, yellow bill The western is similar but is almost always gray, and it has a dark gray bill.Nest: The female lays four to five white eggs in debris at the bottom of the nesting cavity.
Voice: The eastern makes a tremulous whinny or a long trill; the western makes an accelerating series of short whistles, or a double trill.
Habitat:  Many kinds of woodlands, parks, backyards, deserts.
Diet: Insects, small mammals, birds, fish, spiders and reptiles.
Backyard Favorite: Nest box.

Bird Song & Range Map

Listen to the Screech Owl’s song and learn where to spot them.

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


Eastern Screech-Owl Bird Species


Western Screech-Owl Bird SpeciesRange maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.