Birds of the Bible – Long-eared Owl

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©Flickr Slgurossom

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©Flickr Slgurossom

“And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,” (Leviticus 11:16-17 KJV)

I trust you liked the Long-eared Owl that was on this morning’s Four Word Thursday. That was a Northern Long-eared Owl, but now just called Long-eared Owl. Owls are Birds of the Bible and mentioned several times. The “Long-eared Owl” is not named specifically, but that does not mean the verses do not include this beautifully expressive owl.

Northern Long-eared Owl

Northern Long-eared Owl (Asio otus, previously Strix otus)

“Long-eared Owls are lanky owls that often seem to wear a surprised expression thanks to long ear tufts that typically point straight up like exclamation marks. These nocturnal hunters roost in dense foliage, where their camouflage makes them hard to find, and forage over grasslands for small mammals. Long-eared Owls are nimble flyers, with hearing so acute they can snatch prey in complete darkness. In spring and summer, listen for their low, breathy hoots and strange barking calls in the night.” (1)

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) by J Fenton

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) by J Fenton

Subspecies; Related Species

Five subspecies generally recognized:

  • Asio o. otus (Eurasia, Azores, nw. Africa)
  • A. o. canariensis (Canary Is.)
  • A. o. graueri (Zaire, Uganda, Kenya)
  • A. o. wilsonianus (e. North America)
  • A. o. tuftsi (w. North America)

A. o. abyssinicus (highlands of Ethiopia) is now moved to full species status. Now called the Abyssinian Owl (Asio abyssinicus)

Sibley and Monroe (1990) combine A. o. graueri and A. o. abyssinicus into 1 species, Abyssinian Owl (A. abyssinicus). [This they did] Population endemic to Madagascar usually treated as full species, Madagascar Long-eared Owl (A. madagascariensis; Amadon and Bull 1988, but see Sibley and Monroe 1990).

Closest relative to otus is probably madagascariensis; Amadon and Bull (1988) suggest they are allospecies. Data from protein electrophoresis indicate that for congeners, genetic distance between Long-eared and Short-eared owls is “unusually large” (Randi et al. 1991). Hybridization not known to occur. (2) [with editing]

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©WikiC

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©WikiC

Here in the U.S. we would encounter  the tuffsi and wilsonianus supspecies. I am not sure which these photos represent other than they are some of the fantastic creations from their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have present several of the Birds of the Bible – Owl articles, which can be see by clicking Birds of the Bible – Owls.

These words for “Owl” are in the Scripture in Leviticus 11:16, 17:

“And the owl[H3284], and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl[H3563], and the cormorant, and the great owl[H3244],” (Leviticus 11:16-17 KJV)

H3284 – יענה – ya‛ănâh – yah-an-aw

Feminine of H3283, and meaning the same: – + owl.

H3563 – כּוס – kôs – koce

From an unused root meaning to hold together; a cup (as a container), often figuratively a lot (as if a potion); also some unclean bird, probably an owl (perhaps from the cup like cavity of its eye): – cup, (small) owl. Compare H3599.

H3244 – ינשׁוף ינשׁוּף – yanshûph – yanshôph – yan-shoof’, yan-shofe’

Apparently from H4398; an unclean (aquatic) bird; probably the heron (perhaps from its blowing cry, or because the night heron is meant (compare H5399)): – (great) owl.

Just thought I would give you some photos of this amazing owl, and throw in a little Bible Study. The Hebrew words are from the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries on my e-Sword (a free Bible program).


(1) Introduction to Long-eared Owl from All About Birds

(2) Marks, J. S., D. L. Evans and D. W. Holt. 1994. Long-eared Owl (Asio otus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: and doi:10.2173/bna.133


Birds of the Bible – Owls