12 Different Types of Owls in Ohio

types of owls in ohio
Photo by Freezer

Ohio is home to a wide variety of birds, including several species of owls.

From the Great Horned Owl to the Barred Owl, Ohio is a great place to observe owls in their natural habitat.

This blog post will explore the different types of owls in Ohio and discuss their habitat, diet, and other interesting facts. 

Whether you’re a bird-watcher or just curious about these nocturnal creatures, this post will provide you with all the information you need to know about the different types of owls in Ohio.

Let’s dive in!

1. Barred Owl

The Barred Owl is one of the most common types of owls in Ohio. It is a medium-sized owl with a large round head, dark brown eyes, and a grayish-brown body with dark bars and spots on its breast. It has long legs and feet and a short tail. Its call is a distinctive hoot that sounds like “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all.”

Barred Owls can be found in many areas of Ohio, including wooded areas, wetlands, and urban parks. They are often seen during the daytime when they are looking for food. They feed mainly on small mammals such as mice and voles. 

Barred Owls are monogamous and usually stay together throughout their lifetime. They build their nests in cavities in trees, old barns, abandoned buildings, and even chimneys. They usually lay 3-7 eggs, and the chicks hatch after about 28 days. 

Once they hatch, the chicks will stay with their parents until they are old enough to fly on their own. Barred Owls are protected by law in Ohio, and hunting or capturing them is illegal.

2. Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl is a large and powerful nocturnal predator that is found throughout the state of Ohio. This owl species has a distinctive “hoot” call, which makes it easy to identify in the night sky. Its plumage varies from brown and gray to white and black, with black and white streaks on its wings and tail. It has a white patch on its throat, yellow eyes, and a prominent tuft of feathers on each side of its head.

This species typically lives in woodlands and meadows, but they have also been spotted in urban areas. They are known to feed on small mammals, reptiles, birds, and even fish. The Great Horned Owl is second on this list of the types of owls in Ohio and is a solitary hunter and prefers to hunt during the night. 

In Ohio, the Great Horned Owl can be seen year-round in most areas, and it nests during winter. It is an impressive predator that greatly interests birders who live in or visit the state.

3. Eastern Screech Owl

Unlike the other types of owls in Ohio, the Eastern Screech Owl is a small, long-tailed owl that is found across the state. This species prefers wooded areas and is usually seen perched in trees or on low branches during the day. It is a reddish-brown or gray color, with white breasts and yellow eyes. 

This owl makes a distinctive whinny or trill sound and can be heard year-round in Ohio. They hunt for insects, rodents, and other small animals at night and are often seen at bird feeders. The Eastern Screech Owl is an important part of Ohio’s natural ecosystem and should be appreciated by all.

4. Northern Hawk Owl

The Northern Hawk Owl is one of the unique types of owls in Ohio. This owl is a medium-sized species with a length of 16-18 inches and a wingspan of 32-35 inches. They have a light-colored facial disk with dark eyes, a slender body, and a long tail. 

The Northern Hawk Owl has a light brown and white striped head and back, with black, white, and yellow stripes on the wings. They are usually found in evergreen and deciduous woodlands or open fields, usually during the winter months. They mainly feed on small mammals, birds, and insects, although they occasionally feed on fish.

The Northern Hawk Owl is also quite vocal and may produce various calls, such as hoots, barks, and screeches. They are also known to be quite shy and can be difficult to spot due to their coloring and size. 

As such, they are types of owls in Ohio that can often be heard before they are seen. The Northern Hawk Owl is an important part of Ohio’s ecosystem, as they help to keep rodent populations in check and are an important food source for many other animals.

5. Barn Owl

The barn owl is a large and widely distributed species of owl found throughout the world. In Ohio, this species can be found in rural areas, usually close to farms and meadows. The barn owl has a distinctive heart-shaped face with a white face and yellow eyes. Its wingspan is larger than most other owls, and its plumage is brownish-gray with long legs. 

This owl species is known to be particularly loud and often heard hooting at night. The barn owl is an important part of the ecosystem as it helps keep populations of rodents in check. They hunt small prey such as mice, rats, and voles by flying low over open terrain and listening for their movements. 

They are likewise types of owls in Ohio and have also been observed hunting fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. The barn owl is a valuable species for farmers since it helps to control pests on their property. Although it is not a common sight, the barn owl is vital to the natural balance in Ohio.

6. Long-Eared Owl

This list of the various types of owls in Ohio is incomplete without the Long-eared Owl, a medium-sized owl that can be found throughout Ohio. This owl species is smaller than the Great Horned Owl but larger than the Northern Saw-whet Owl. It has ear tufts on its head, yellow eyes, and brown barred and mottled feathers. 

The Long-eared Owl hunts by sitting on perches and waiting for prey to come near before swooping down to catch it. It is active during both day and night and can be seen in wooded areas or near open fields. This owl is one of the least common types of owls in Ohio and is listed as a species of special concern by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

7. Northern Saw-Whet Owl

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is a small species of owl found in Ohio. This species is active primarily at night and is often heard calling but rarely seen. It has a round head with no ear tufts, bright yellow eyes, and a white throat. Its body is reddish-brown and streaked with white and buff-colored markings. 

These types of owls in Ohio are quite small, measuring just 8 to 9 inches tall. They live in wooded areas, including forests, groves, orchards, and along waterways. They prefer coniferous forests but can be found in various habitats throughout Ohio. In Ohio, these owls can be found year-round, although they may migrate south during winter. 

They feed primarily on mice and voles, taking insects and other small prey. During the nesting season, they use cavities of dead trees as nest sites and build nests from twigs and leaves. During the day, they roost in dense foliage, usually near their nesting sites. They have become increasingly rare due to habitat loss and destruction, making them a protected species in Ohio.

8. Snowy Owl

The Snowy Owl is a stunning bird found in Ohio and throughout much of North America. It is the largest owl species in Ohio, with a wingspan of up to 4 1/2 feet! These striking birds have white feathers, a round face, and yellow eyes. They are often found perched atop fence posts or other high points, looking out for their next meal. 

In the winter months, Snowy Owls, one of the types of owls in Ohio, will migrate south, bringing them to the state. These owls can be spotted in open areas like airports, grasslands, and wetlands during the winter. They feed primarily on small mammals such as voles, lemmings, and mice.

Snowy Owls prefer to nest on the ground in an open area with good visibility. While they are not overly common in Ohio, it is not uncommon to spot one of these magnificent birds during winter. Keep your eyes peeled for this beautiful bird; you may be lucky to see one!

9. Short-Eared Owl

The Short-eared Owl is a species of owl found in Ohio. It is found throughout the state in rural and urban areas, preferring open habitats such as meadows and wetlands. This owl species is relatively small, measuring about 11-13 inches in length. It has a white face with brownish-gray upper parts, yellow eyes, and long, rounded wings. 

During the day, they can be seen flying low over the ground or perched on fence posts. They are most active during the evening and night, often hunting for small mammals, insects, and other small prey. The Short-eared Owl typically nests on the ground in grassy areas such as meadows, fields, and marshes. 

They are also types of owls in Ohio that will lay eggs from March to April and incubate them for up to 28 days. The young owls will fledge after 35 days and become independent by late summer. This owl species is quite hardy and can survive in many habitats, making it a common sight throughout Ohio.

10. Burrowing Owl

The Burrowing Owl is one of the unique types of owls in Ohio. This small owl is known for its incredibly thin, long legs and long talons. The Burrowing Owl can be identified by its grayish-brown coloring, white face and breast markings, and tufted crown. They are also easily recognizable by their habit of nesting and roosting in burrows or underground cavities.

Burrowing owls across Ohio have been spotted in grasslands, prairies, pastures, and golf courses. While they are usually not found in densely wooded areas, they will sometimes nest in wooded areas with scattered trees and patches of open grassland. They feed primarily on large insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and moths. 

Coupled with that, burrowing owls are known to be active hunters and often hunt by day. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of one of these fascinating types of owls in Ohio!

11. Boreal Owl

The Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) is a small, brown owl found throughout Ohio. They have a unique facial disc that is pale gray and a white eyebrow stripe. This owl prefers coniferous and mixed forests but can also be found in open areas and old fields. 

Boreal Owls are active at night, using their sharp hearing and sight to locate their prey. They hunt for small rodents like voles, mice, and shrews and sometimes hunt during the day. During the summer months, Boreal Owls can be heard singing in the evening and early morning hours. Boreal Owls usually build their nests in trees or large shrubs, with some nesting in cavities as well. 

In Ohio, they can be found during the nesting season from March through May. In the winter, they migrate south and can be found in southern parts of the United States and Mexico. Boreal Owls have an interesting call that is described as a “hoo-woo-hoo” sound. They are one of the rarest types of owls in Ohio, so if you spot one, consider yourself lucky!

12. Great Gray Owls

The Great Gray Owl is one of the largest owl species in North America and can be found in Ohio. These owls are large, ranging from 21-28 inches tall and weighing 1.3 to 3.3 lbs. They have a wingspan that can reach up to 5 feet wide. They have a distinct color pattern: a mottled gray and brown body, yellow eyes, and a white or yellowish facial disk. 

The Great Gray Owls typically inhabit boreal coniferous forests but can also be found in open areas like marshes, meadows, and fields. They tend to nest in abandoned nests of other birds or in tree cavities. These types of owls in Ohio mainly feed on small mammals such as mice, voles, and squirrels, as well as some birds, reptiles, and insects.


Ohio is home to many different types of owls, each of which can be found in various habitats. Whether you’re looking for the Barred Owl in its preferred woodland habitat, or the Snowy Owl’s characteristic presence near open fields, Ohio has something for every bird enthusiast. 

So, don’t forget your binoculars and bird books on your next outing – you may spot one of these majestic birds! We are sure you are satisfied with our blog post on the various types of owls in Ohio. All the best! 

Does Ohio Have Great Horned Owls?

Yes, great horned owls can be found in Ohio. Despite having a modest population, these owls are widespread across the state, including Cleveland and Cincinnati. Even though there aren’t many great horned owls in Ohio, they play a significant role in the local ecosystem.

Are There Snowy Owls in Ohio?

Although uncommon, snowy owl sightings occasionally occur in Ohio. Typically, colder regions like those in the northern United States or Canada are home to these huge owls. However, they occasionally have been reported to show up in Ohio.

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