Owls in Florida

The Sunshine State of Florida has a diverse variety of habitats, including coastal plains, grasslands, forests, and wetlands. This has allowed numerous owls—about 17 of them, including both those native to the state and accidental arrivals—to thrive in the state. 

Owls in Florida (FL)

List of Owls in Florida

NameAverage SizeStatusWhere Do They Live in the State?Mating Season
Small Owls
Eastern Screech Owl
Length: 6-10 inches

Wingspan: 18-24 inches
NativeCommon throughout Florida; frequently found in urban and suburban areas, including cities like Tampa, Orlando, and JacksonvilleLate winter to early spring (February to April)
Burrowing Owl
Length: 9-11 inches

Wingspan:  21-24 inches
NativeCommon in Southern and Central Florida, especially in open fields; notable populations in Cape Coral and other parts of Southwest FloridaLate winter to early spring (February to August)
Ferruginous Pygmy Owl
Length: 6-7 inches

Wingspan: 12-14 inches
AccidentalRare, with occasional sightings, mainly in southern FloridaPotentially year-round, with peaks in spring
Flammulated Owl
Length: 6.5-7.5 inches

Wingspan: 12-15 inches
AccidentalRare, with no regular sightings reportedLate spring to early summer (May to June)
Western Screech Owl
Length: 8-10 inches

Wingspan: 18-24 inches 
AccidentalVery rare, with occasional sightingsLate winter to early spring (February to April)
Elf Owl
Length: 4.9-5.9 inches

Wingspan: 9-10 inches 
AccidentalExtremely rare, with sightings likely linked to escaped captive birds or vagrantsSpring to early summer (March to June)
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Length: 7 – 8 inches

Wingspan: 17-22 inches
AccidentalRare, with occasional sightings, especially in Northern FloridaLate winter to early spring (February to April)
Northern Pygmy Owl
Length: 6 – 7 inches

Wingspan: 6.7-8.7 inches 
AccidentalExtremely rare, with sporadic sightings in wooded habitatsLate winter to early spring (February to April)
Large Owls
Barn Owl
Length: 12-16 inches 

Wingspan: 42-43 inches 
NativeWidespread throughout Florida, often found in rural areas, barns, and farmlands; notable populations in North Florida and the PanhandleYear-round, with peaks in late winter and spring (March to June)
Great Horned Owl
Length: 18-25 inches

Wingspan: 40-60 inches
NativeStatewide distribution; adaptable to various habitats, including forests, urban areas, and suburbsLate fall to early winter (November to January)
Barred Owl Length: 16-24 inches 

Wingspan: 16-24 inches
NativeCommon throughout Florida, especially in wooded habitats; notable populations in Central Florida and the Gulf Coast regionLate winter to early spring (February to April)
Short-eared Owl
Length: 13-17 inches

Wingspan: 33-43 inches 
NativeRarely seen, mainly in Central and South Florida during winterVaries, often in early spring (March to June, peaking in April)
Snowy Owl Length: 20-27 inches

Wingspan: 49-58 inches
AccidentalUnusual sightings, typically in Northern Florida, during migration years or irruptive movementsVaries by region and based on prey availability (any time between May and September)
Spotted Owl Length: 16-19 inches

Wingspan: 18-21 inches
AccidentalNo regular sightingsLate winter to early spring (February to April)
Great Gray Owl
Length: 24-33 inches

Wingspan: 38-43 inches
AccidentalVery rare and unexpected, with any sightings being significantLate winter to early spring (February to April)
Long-eared Owl
Length: 13-16 inches

Wingspan: 24-40 inches
AccidentalInfrequent, with few confirmed sightingsLate winter to early spring (February to April)
Stygian Owl
Length: 15-18 inches

Wingspan: N/A 
AccidentalRarely seen, with any Florida sightings being of notable interestVaries widely, with limited information

Where Can You See Owls in Florida

As Cape Coral is home to Florida’s largest Burrowing Owl population, there are several places in the city to see them in the wild. The most notable of these is the Rotary Park Environmental Center, which holds an annual festival called the Burrowing Owl Festival. Other places to see the smallest owl in the state include Sirenia Vista Park, Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, and Jaycee Park. The Gulf Coast, especially at Point Reyes National Seashore, is a great place to see owls like the Great Horned Owl.

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