Owls in Arkansas

Arkansas is home to 9 native species of owls. Some are rare, like the Burrowing Owl, the Long-eared Owl, and the Snowy Owl. Arkansas is a wet state, with thunderstorms and hail being quite common, with only a few owls being able to handle the weather.

Owls in Arkansas (AR)

List of Owls in Arkansas

Name with SoundsAverage SizeStatusDistributionMating Season
Small Owls
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Length: 7 – 8 inches
Wingspan: 17-22 inches
NativeExtremely rare in the state, it stays hidden in coniferous forests. Often spotted close to Hot Springs and RussellvilleSpring (March to April)
Eastern Screech Owl
Length: 6-10 inches
Wingspan: 18-24 inches
NativeSoutheastern part of the state, near cities like Little Rock, Hot Springs, Harriet, etcLate winter to spring (February to April)
Burrowing Owl
Length: 9-11 inches
Wingspan:  21-24 inches
NativeRare in the state as the marshes and wetlands of Arkansas make it difficult for these owls to build their nestsLate winter to early spring (February to August)
Large Owls
Barn Owl
Length: 12-16 inches 
Wingspan: 42-43 inches 
NativeQuite common in Arkansas, with the population being the highest around the wetlands of the Mississippi Delta in the eastern part of the state. This includes cities like Jonesboro and West MemphisYear-round, with peaks in late winter and spring (March to June)
Great Horned Owl
Length: 18-25 inches
Wingspan: 40-60 inches
NativePrefers agricultural openings in between woodlands in southeastern Arkansas. Sightings occur around Lake ChicotLate fall to early winter (November to January)
Long-eared Owl
Length: 13-16 inches
Wingspan: 24-40 inches
NativeRare in the state, it occasionally migrates during winters Late winter to Spring (February to April)
Barred Owl
Length: 16-24 inches
Wingspan: 16-24 inches
NativeVery common in the state, often spotted in abandoned buildings or tree cavities in woods or other forested areas. Sightings occur around Lake Chicot, Stuttgart, and Hot SpringsLate winter to Spring (February to April)
Short-eared Owl
Length: 13-17 inches
Wingspan: 33-43 inches 
NativeMostly observed during winter, as this owl often migrates to Arkansas from colder places. It can be seen around Stuttgart, Jonesboro, and St. CharlesVaries, often in early spring (March to September)
Snowy Owl
Length: 20-27 inches
Wingspan: 49-58 inches
NativeExtremely rare, with sightings of this owl attributed to vagrants mistakenly traveling south during winterVaries by region and based on prey availability (any time between May and September)

Where Can You See Owls in Arkansas

Common owl species in Arkansas, like the Barn and Great Horned Owls, can be seen in most parks, national forests, and preserves in the state. These include the Ozark National Forest, the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, and the Ouachita National Forest.

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