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 Little Owl  (Athene noctua )



The Little Owl shows quite a wide distribution.


The Little Owl is mainly insectivorous - earthworms, beetles, moths and grasshoppers although they will take small mammals such as voles, and small birds. Where lizards are plentiful, it will also take these.


Little Owls have a mewing call, and during the breeding season a pair will often call alternately in a duet.

Status and behaviour in the wild

The Little Owl is active at night but does most of its hunting at dawn and dusk. It is, therefore, best described as crepuscular. It can also frequently be seen perched on low posts early or late in the day.

For many years owls have symbolised wisdom. This results from the Little Owl's association with Pallas Athene, the Greek godess of wisdom. She is reputed to have used Little Owls as her messengers. The birds also traditionally nest in cavities in the walls of the Acropolis which appeared to show Pallas Athene's approval of these birds. This, coupled with their presence on coins with the Godess of Wisdom sealed their reputation!

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