How can owls be identified by their calls?


Quick Answer

Owls use a variety of calls such as hoots, squawks, chirps, hisses and screeches and have different calls for different situations. Females, males and juveniles of the same species have different calls.

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Full Answer

A common barn owl found worldwide makes a screech sound or a twittering sound. Their chicks make a shrieking sound. A defensive barn owl makes a hissing sound or a screaming sound.

A flammulated owl has a call of a single or double hoot, with the female making a higher pitched sound than the male, and makes a long "hooo" sound if distressed.

Eastern screech owls can be identified by either a whinny or trill sound, while some bird watchers describe the call of a Western screech owl as a "bouncing ball" sound. Arizona's whiskered screech owl's call is similar to the Western screech owl but is a slower "coo-coo-coo" sound.

A male great horned owl makes a deep "hoo-hoo" call, while the females have a more bird-like call. When excited, great horned owls make a faster, shorter "hoo-hoo" sounds. They also make squawking, hissing and chittering sounds when agitated. The juveniles make a high-pitched tweeting sound.

Recordings of owl calls can be found on Owlpages.com, Owling.com and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website along with other identifying information.

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