There are five species of Owl found in the UK:
|Tawny Owl (RSPB)|
Most of the calling you hear is that of young males that have dispersed from their parents' territory to find their own. They call from dusk to dawn to establish if another male is nearby. Tawny Owls are very sedentary and rarely move far from their birth place during their whole life. A local Tawny Owl was ringed when it fledged and was found dead 21 years later barely a mile from where it was ringed. Most of the time the Tawny just sits and waits before dropping on its prey - it knows every detail of it's environment and can detect the slightest movement.
|Barn Owl (RSPB)|
Barn Owls are mainly nocturnal, but when they have young to feed they hunt in daylight. They can be seen over roadside verges and field margins or passing through headlight beams.
|Short-eared Owl (RSPB)|
|Long- eared Owl (RSPB)|
Long-eared Owls are found in areas of scrub and trees, including hedgerows, shelter belts, woods and heathland. They are very secretive and can be very difficult to see as they hunt at night. Communal winter roosts assemble in thick scrubs and late autumn brings the last chance to find 'tired' immigrants resting in the open. The young make 'squeaky gate' begging calls in late spring. Courting males make a low, but far-carrying mournful "oh" sound.
|Little Owl (RSPB)|
The Little Owl is found in open country with mature trees such as farmland, parkland and downland. It is about the size of a fat Blackbird and has a small stumpy form on fences, telephone poles and the boughs of trees at dusk. Little Owls fly with fast wingbeats and glides, swooping up to a perch. They make a soft but far-carrying "Goo-ek" or "Weew" sound at dusk.
These compact Owls ooze character; they're small but they have attitude, accentuated by their piercing yellow eyes and permanent scowl. Although they might seem at home in here, the Little Owl is the only non-native Owl in the UK. The thousands that now exist in Britain all originate from the few that were released into Northamptonshire the 19th century by Lord Lilford.
Here's a BTO video on identifying Short-eared and Long-eared Owls: