Eastern screech-owl
Otus asio
 
ITIS Species Code:   177856         NatureServ Element Code:   ABNSB01030
 
Taxa: 
Order: 
Family: 
Aves
Str.giformes
Strigidae
NatureServe Global Rank: 
NatureServe State (NC) Rank: 
 
G5
S5
 
Federal Status: 
NC State Status: 
 
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PARTNERS IN FLIGHT PRIORITY SCORES:
Southern Blue Ridge:  19 Southern Piedmont:  17 South Atl. Coastal Plain:  17
 
HEXAGONAL KNOWN RANGE:PREDICTED DISTRIBUTION:
 
SUMMARY OF STATEWIDE PREDICTED DISTRIBUTION:
 
Land Unit

US Fish & Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US National Park Service
US Department of Defense
NC State Parks
NC University System
NC Wildlife Res. Com.
NC Forest Service
NC Div. of Coastal Mgmt.
Local Governments
Non-Governmental Org.
Other Public Lands
Private Lands

GAP Status 1-2
All Protected Lands
Statewide
 
Hectares

8,897.04
28,748.79
69,463.08
6,520.14
4,189.05
5,121.90
27,894.15
5,289.51
850.68
1,367.64
2,905.11
1,470.87
3,351,145.59

28,843.14
161,017.95
3,513,863.55
 
Acres

21,985.06
71,039.79
171,646.98
16,111.61
10,351.37
12,656.49
68,927.93
13,449.33
2,102.08
3,379.51
7,178.68
3,634.60
8,280,859.48

71,651.60
398,262.61
8,683,322.90
% of Dist. on
Prot. Lands

5.5 %
17.9 %
42.8 %
4.0 %
2.6 %
3.2 %
16.8 %
3.3 %
0.5 %
1.8 %
1.8 %
0.8 %
< 0.1 %

17.9 %
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% of Dist. on
All Lands

0.3 %
0.8 %
2.0 %
0.2 %
0.1 %
0.1 %
0.8 %
0.2 %
< 0.1 %
< 0.1 %
< 0.1 %
< 0.1 %
95.4 %

0.8 %
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HABITAT DESCRIPTION:
Common throughout the state in a variety of habitats (Pearson 1959, Stupka 1963, Fussell and Lyons 1990, Simpson 1992, Fussell 1994).

Nests in open to medium growth pine, deciduous, or mixed forests; also in agricultural, suburban, scrub and riparian habitats (Ehrlich et al. 1988, Nicholson 1997). Will nest in parks and suburban areas that provide large shade trees with cavities for nesting (Johnsgard 1988). Forages in open fields, clearings and edges (Hamel 1992).

Generally nests in tree cavities, such as abandoned Pileated Woodpecker and Flicker holes (Harrison 1975), but also hollow stumps (Ehrlich et al.1988), crevices in buildings, birdhouses, and nest boxes (Ehrlich et al.1988), particularly those made specifically for owls or Wood Ducks (Nicholson 1997). Nests have been found in cavities ranging from 1.5 m to 16.8 m above ground (Harrison 1975, Duley 1979); an average cavity depth of 31 cm has been suggested as an important factor (Belthoff and Ritchison 1990).

NATURE SERVE GLOBAL HABITAT COMMENTS:

Open woodland, deciduous forest, orchards, woodland/forest edge, swamps, parklands, residential areas in towns, scrub, and riparian woodland in drier regions. Evergreen woodland/ forest little used in northeastern U.S. Roosts in tree hollow, among foliage close to trunk, in rock crevice, old magpie nest, nest box, under eaves, or similar site.

Nests in natural cavity, old woodpecker hole, or bird box, often 1.5-9 m above ground; sites with opening of about 7-20 cm (Voous and Cameron 1989); in Kentucky avoided deep cavities (more than 60 cm) and shallow cavities, used cavities averaged 31 cm deep. In south-central Iowa, the highest use of nest boxes occurred in riparian sites (Iowa Bird Life, 1990).

 
MODELING DESCRIPTION:
Occupied Landcover Map Units:
Code NameDescription NC Natural Heritage Program Equivalent
378 Ocean Beaches Open beach sand. Upper Beach
124 Maritime Scrubs and Tidal Shrublands Coastal shrubs including wax-myrtle, swamp rose, alder, yaupon, and greenbriar. Maritime Shrubs, Salt Shrub
371 Maritime Grasslands Dune grass community consisting of sea oats and beach grasses. Dune grass, Maritime dry grassland
121 Maritime Pinelands Loblolly forests and woodlands of the outer coastal plain. Estuarine Fringe Loblolly Pine Forest
17 Maritime Forests and Hammocks Maritime forests and woodlands dominated by live or sand laurel oak. Estuarine Fringe forests dominated by loblolly pine. Coastal Fringe Evergreen Forest, Maritime Deciduous Forest, Maritime Deciduous Forest
173 Coastal Plain Riverbank Shrubs Shrub dominated riverbanks, commonly dominated by willows and/or alders. Sand and Mud Bar
41 Peatland Atlantic White-Cedar Forest Dense stands of Atlantic white cedar with saturated hydrology. Can include swamp tupelo, red maple, and pond pines with a moderate shrub and herb layer. Peatland Atlantic White-Cedar Forest
63 Coastal Plain Mesic Hardwood Forests Beech dominated forests with white oak and northern red oak as possible co-dominants. Dry-mesic to mesic forests on slopes and small stream bottoms in the coastal plain. Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest, Basic Mesic Forests
138 Coastal Plain Dry to Dry-Mesic Oak Forests Oak dominated forests of the coastal plain. Includes white oak forests with water oak or northern red oak and hickories as co-dominants. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Basic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
97 Mesic Longleaf Pine Longleaf pine woodlands without a major scrub oak component. Slash or loblolly pines may be present as well. Mesic Pine Flatwoods
42 Xeric Longleaf Pine Sandhills including a range of longleaf pine density from predominantly wiregrass, scrub oak dominated to true longleaf pine woodland. This does not include mesic or saturated flatwood types. Xeric Sandhill Scrub, Pine/Scrub Oak Sandhill, Coastal Fringe Sandhill
46 Xeric Oak - Pine Forests Mixed forest dominated by yellow pines with white or northern red oaks co-dominating. Pine Oak Heath
232 Xeric Pine-Hardwood Woodlands and Forests Mixed forest dominated by yellow pines with drier oaks including southern red, post, and chestnut oaks. Dry Oak Hickory Forest
267 Riverbank Shrublands Riverside shrubs with temporarily flooded hydrologies. Found in the both the Mountains and Piedmont. Containing dominants such as smooth alder and a Carolina or black willows. Sand and Mud Bar
230 Piedmont Mesic Forest American Beech - Red Oak - White Oak Forests. Mesic Mixed Hardwood
383 Piedmont Mixed Successional Forest Generally loblolly mixed with successional hardwoods. Sweetgum, tulip poplar and red maple are common co-dominants in these successional forests. No equivalent
228 Piedmont Dry-Mesic Oak and Hardwood Forests Primarily oak dominated forests, white oak is often dominant, with co-dominants including . Also represented by sweetgum and tulip poplar dominated forests. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Basic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
222 Piedmont Dry-Mesic Pine Forests Loblolly dominated forests resulting from succession following clearing. This type occurs on all moisture regimes following disturbance with the exception of the extremely xeric sites. No equivalent
382 Dry Mesic Oak Pine Forests Mixed forests of the coastal plain and piedmont. Includes loblolly pine with white, southern red and/or post oak and loblolly with water oak. On basic sites of the piedmont, eastern red cedar may co-occur with post, black, and blackjack oaks. Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Xeric Hard Pan Forest, Chestnut Oak Forest, Dry Mesic Oak Hickory Forest, Dry Oak Hickory Forest
220 Piedmont Xeric Pine Forests Dry to xeric pine forests dominated by Virginia pine, shortleaf pine or Eastern Red Cedar. Pine Oak Heath
226 Piedmont Xeric Woodlands Generally post and blackjack oak dominated woodlands. White ash and pignut hickory can be found in combination with Eastern red cedar on glades. Xeric Hardpan Forest
20 Coniferous Regeneration Regenerating pine stands. Predominantly loblolly pine, but slash and longleaf stands occur as well. No equivalent
21 Coniferous Cultivated Plantation (natural / planted) Managed pine plantations, densely planted. Most planted stands are loblolly, but slash and longleaf occur as well. No equivalent
51 Deciduous Cultivated Plantation Planted deciduous trees. Includes sweetgum and sycamore plantations. No equivalent
36 Successional Deciduous Forests Regenerating deciduous trees with a shrub stature. Commonly dominated by sweetgum, tulip poplars and maples. No equivalent
180 Agricultural Crop Fields Farm fields used for row crops. No equivalent
205 Agricultural Pasture/Hay and Natural Herbaceous Farm fields used for pasture grass or hay production, as well as old fields dominated by native and exotic grasses. No equivalent
202 Residential Urban Includes vegetation interspersed in residential areas. Includes lawns, mixed species woodlots, and horticultural shrubs. Vegetation accounts for between 20 - 70% of the cover. No equivalent
521 Spruce/Fir Forest High Elevation Frazer-Fir - Red Spruce, Red Spruce and Red-Spruce-Yellow Birch Forests. Tree densities included here include both woodland to forest density. Highly intermixed with Northern Hardwoods, Grassy Balds, and Shrub Balds. Red Spruce--Fraser Fir Forest, Fraser Fir Forest
522 Northern Hardwoods High Elevation forests including yellow birch, American beech, and yellow buckeye. Includes forests with Hemlock and Yellow Birch. Northern Hardwoods Forest, Boulderfield Forest
523 Grassy Bald High Elevation grassy balds including Pennsylvania sedge, mountain oatgrass, as well as shrubby areas dominated by Alleghany and smooth blackberry. Grassy Bald
524 Shrub Bald Variable phenologies, predominantly evergreen balds with rhododendon and Mountain laurels. Deciduous shrubs including green alder and Alleghany and smooth blackberry are included as well. Red Oak - Chestnut Oak Woodlands may be included in cases where the density of the woodland species is low and the shrub component is dense. Heath Bald
525 Appalachian Oak Forest A variety of oak forest types including Black, White, Scarlet Oaks in dry to mesic situations. Includes forests historically co-dominated by American Chestnut. High Elevation Red Oak Forest, Montane White Oak Forest
526 Appalachian Cove Forest Mixed Mesophytic forests of the mountains. Includes tuliptree, basswood, yellow buckeye and surgar maple. This class is mapped to include cove forests dominated or co-dominated by hemlock. Rich Cove Forest, Acidic Cove Forest
527 Appalachian Hemlock Upland hemlock forests of the moutains region. Vary from side slopes to steep slope positions. Canada Hemlock Forest
528 Appalachian Xeric Pine Forest Pine forests and woodlands on xeric sites. A variety of pines, including Virginia, Shortleaf, Eastern White Pine, Table Mountain and Pitch pine. Often small areas of dense pine within a matrix of Xeric Oak-Pine Forests. Pine Oak Heath
529 Appalachian Xeric Mixed Forest Mixed forests with Virginia, Shortleaf, Eastern White Pine, Table Mountain and Pitch pines in combination with xeric oak species. Oaks include, white, Southern Red, black, and rock chestnut. Pine Oak Heath
530 Appalachian Xeric Deciduous Forest Deciduous forests in the mountains dominated by Xeric Oak species. Species include, white, Southern red, black, and rock chestnut. High Elevation Red Oak Forest, Montane White Oak Forest
535 Talus/Outcrops/Cliffs Includes seep talus slopes with sparce vegetation, as well as outcrops including, granitic outcrops. Some outcrops will have been mapped as barren rock. No equivalent
View Entire Landcover Legend
 
Additional Spatial Constraints:
Exclude all area outside of known range.
Limited to elevation range: less than 4500 ft.
Limited to edge habitats including forest/field borders, shrublands and woodlands.
 
CITATIONS:
Kirk, D.A., D. Hussell, and E. Dunn. 1994/95. Raptor population status and trends in Canada. Bird Trends (Canadian Wildlife Service) 4:2-9.

Bent, A.C. 1938. Life histories of North American birds of prey. Part 2. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 170. 482 pp., 92 pls.

Ehrlich, P.R., D.S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1992. Birds in jeopardy:the imperiled and extinct birds of the United States and Canada, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. 259 pp.

Hamel, P. B. 1992. The land manager's guide to the birds of the south. The Nature Conservancy, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 367 pp + several appendices.

Simpson MB Jr. 1992. Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press.

Fisher, A.K. 1893. The hawks and owls of the United States in their relation to agriculture. Washington U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Bull. no. 6. 210 pp.

Fussell, J. III and M. Lyons. 1990. Birds of the Outer Banks [pamphlet]. Eastern National Parks and Monument Association Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society.

Fussell, J.O. III. 1994. A birderís guide to coastal North Carolina. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press.

Gehlbach, F. R. 1994. The eastern screech-owl:life history, ecology, and behavior in the suburbs and countryside. Texas A & M University Press, College Station, Texas. xiv + 302 pp.

Nicholson CP. 1997. Atlas of the breeding birds of Tennessee. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.

Belthoff, J. R., and G. Ritchison. 1989. Natal dispersal of eastern screech-owls. Condor 91:254-265.

Dixon, K.L. 1989. Contact zones of avian congeners on the southern Great Plains. Condor 91:15-22.

Stupka A 1963. Notes on the birds of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press.

Duley, L.J. 1979. Life history aspects of the Screech-owl (Otus asio) in Eastern Tennessee. MS Thesis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Belthoff, J.R. and G. Ritchison. 1990. Nest-site selection by Eastern Screech-owls in central Kentucky. Condor 92:982-90.

Pearson, T.G. 1959. Birds of North Carolina. Raleigh, NC: Bynum Printing Company.

Harrison, H.H. 1975. A field guide to bird's nests in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 257 p.

VanCamp, L. F. and C. J. Henny. 1975. The screech owl:itslife history and population ecology in northern Ohio. North Am. Fauna 71:1-65.

Clark, R. J., D. G. Smith, and L. H. Kelso. 1978. Working bibliography of owls of the world. National Wildlife Federation, Sci. & Tech. Ser. No. 1. 336 pp.

Harrison, C. 1978. A field guide to the nests, eggs and nestlings of North American birds. Collins, Cleveland, Ohio.

Harrison, H.H. 1979. A field guide to western birds' nests. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 279 pp.

Terres, J.K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

American Ornithologists' Union (AOU), Committee on Classification and Nomenclature. 1983. Check-list of North American Birds. Sixth Edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas.

National Geographic Society (NGS). 1983. Field guide to the birds of North America. National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.

Adam, C. I. G. 1987. Status of the eastern screech owl in Saskatchewan with reference to adjacent areas. Pp. 268-276 in Nero, R. W., et al., eds. Biology and conservation of northern forest owls. USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-142.

Carpenter, T. W. 1987. Effects of environmental variables on responses of eastern screech owls to playback. Pp. 277- 280 in Nero, R. W., et al., eds. Biology and conservation of northern forest owls. USDA For. Serv., Gen. Tech. Rep.

Pendleton, B. A. Giron, et al. 1987. Raptor management techniques manual. National Wildlife Federation, Sci. and Tech. Ser. No. 10. 420 pp.

Ehrlich, P.R., D.S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook:a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

Johnsgard, P. 1988. North American owls:biology and natural history. Smithsonian Inst. Press. 336 pp.

Nicholls, T. H., and M. R. Fuller. 1987. Owl telemetry techniques. Pages 294-301 in Nero, R. W., et al., eds. Biology and conservation of northern forest owls. USDA Forest Service, Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-142.

Smith, D. G., et al. 1987. Censusing screech owls in southern Connecticut. Pp. 255-267 in Nero, R. W., et al., eds. Biology and conservation of northern forest owls. USDA For. Serv., Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-142.

Smith, D. G. 1987. Owl census techniques. Pages 304-307 in Nero, R. W., et al., eds. Biology and conservation of northern forest owls. USDA Forest Service, Gen. Tech. Rep. RM- 142.

Voous, K. H., and A. Cameron. 1989. Owls of the Northern Hemisphere. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 320 pp.

10 March 2005
 
This data was compiled and/or developed by the North Carolina GAP Analysis Project.

For more information please contact them at:
NC-GAP Analysis Project
Dept. of Zoology, NCSU
Campus Box 7617
Raleigh, NC 27695-7617
(919) 513-2853
www.basic.ncsu.edu/ncgap