Short-eared Owl

This species is defined as a Review Species . Please submit your records of this species via our record submission page .

Scientific Name: Asio flammeus

Malay Name: Burung-Hantu Telinga-Pendek Biasa

Chinese Name: 短耳鸮

Range: Found throughout the Holarctic with some northern populations winter south to Central America, northern Africa, Middle East, Indian subcontinent, southern China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: flammeus, cubensis, domingensis, portoricensis, bogotensis, galapagoensis, pallidicaudus, suinda, sanfordi, sandwichensis, ponapensis.

Local Subspecies: flammeus

Size: 37-39 cm

Identification: In Singapore, adult may be confused with Buffy Fish Owl but has pale greyish-white facial disc with conspicuous white eyebrows, dark circles around yellow eyes creating a "black-eye" effect, broader and denser breast streaks and no obvious ear-tuffs. This species can be distinguished from the Long-eared Owl by having yellow iris instead of orange, white trailing edge on the wings and black primary tips in flight.

Similar looking species: Buffy Fish Owl, Long-eared Owl

Habitat: Grassland, marshes and open areas.

Behaviour/Ecology: Only flies in daylight.

Local Status: Vagrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2021)

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Past records in our database:

Showing only accepted records. Note that records currently under review are also not displayed, and the list may not be a full list of records of this species in Singapore. For more details, check the database here.

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
Average number of individuals by week based on Singapore Bird Database data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023 (all records)
Peak week Nov 26-Dec 02
Early date 29 Nov 2019
Late date 19 Mar 2006
This species prefers large, open spaces with tall trees, and normally winters further north, so recent records in Singapore have been few and far between.


BirdLife International. (2021). Asio flammeus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.

Lim, K. S. (2009). The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore).

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

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