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Owl Species of Alabama

| Updated September 26, 2017

One U.S. state with a rich diversity of birds is Alabama. Because of the state's mild winters and range of habitats, Alabama is home to birds ranging from waterfowl and waders to birds of prey, such as owls. According to the Alabama Wildlife Damage Management, there are eight species of owls that are found throughout the state.


The barn, eastern screech, great horned, short-eared, Northern Saw-whet, long-eared, burrowing and barred are the eight species of owls found in Alabama. According to Alabama Wildlife Damage Management, the barred owl is the species most common in the state, while the Northern Saw-whet, the long-eared and the burrowing owls are rarely seen. The site states that the barn, eastern screech, and great horned owls are listed as species of moderate conservation, while the short-eared owl is listed as a species of high conservation concern.


The barred owl is the owl most commonly found in Alabama. According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, it has a loud, distinct "hooing" sound and is known to make its home in the state's moist woodlands. It's recognizable by its round head, barred breast and brown eyes. The great horned owl, the whitish barn owl and the screech owl are the three other species of owls most often spotted in Alabama. The great horned owl is large in stature, up to 25 inches tall, while the barn owl is recognized by its white coloring. The eastern screech owl is the smallest of the four commonly seen species.

Owls and Humans

Generally speaking, owls pose no threat to humans or their pets. However, they can be a nuisance. For example, in rural areas where owls hunt for food, they sometimes nest in chimneys or other covered areas of the home. One thing to remember is that owls are federally protected, so you can't attempt to catch them or harm them in any way. The best way to rid yourself of an owl is either to clean up brush piles and parts of your yard where they hunt for food or try nonthreatening devices such as sounding alarms or shining lights to scare them away.

Other Owl Info

Owls are birds of prey, meaning that they hunt and feed on other living creatures. Owls are effective hunters, notably of small birds, reptiles and insects. They're also known to feed on pests such as skunks, rats, snakes and crows. They hunt at night and use sharp talons on their feet to capture their prey. Owls often regurgitate half-eaten food parts, such as bones and feathers.