Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Asio otus - Long-eared Owl

Range & Status

Holarctic; in Britain and Ireland at least 3000 pairs.

Regional Distribution

Cornwall: rare passage migrant and winter visitor, with periodic autumn and winter influxes; breeding has taken place on at least five occasions this century, the most recent being near Bodmin in 1985 and at Colliford in 1992, but is possibly more regular as the species is easily overlooked. Isles of Scilly: scarce migrant.

Habitat & Ecology

Mixed and coniferous woodland and riverine Willow Salix spp. thickets. Nests in disused nests of other large birds, such as Crows Corvus spp. and Magpies Pica pica . In winter forms communal roosts in dense ivy-clad shrubs and trees.


None recognised.


Checking crows nests, especially those in moorland Willow thickets might produce more breeding records. In winter looking for piles of droppings under dense Ivy Hedera helix could reveal roosting birds. In flight, it is easily confused with Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus , which also often hunts over open country. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.

Cornish Biodiversity Network. 2017.