Little Owl Athene noctua


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2019 Least Concern
2018 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass 171 g
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 55,000,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 5000000-9999999 poor estimated 2012
Population trend Stable suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulations - - -
Generation length (yrs) 4.4 - - -

Population justification: In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 618,000-1,170,000 pairs, which equates to 1,240,000-2,340,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.25% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 4,960,000-9,360,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. The population is therefore placed in the band 5,000,000-9,999,999 mature individuals.

Trend justification: The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. The European population is estimated to be stable (BirdLife International 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan N Extant Yes
Albania N Extant Yes
Algeria N Extant Yes
Andorra N Extant Yes
Armenia N Extant Yes
Austria N Extant Yes
Azerbaijan N Extant Yes
Belarus N Extant Yes
Belgium N Extant Yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina N Extant Yes
Bulgaria N Extant Yes
Chad N Extant Yes
China (mainland) N Extant Yes
Croatia N Extant Yes
Cyprus N Extant Yes
Czechia N Extant Yes
Denmark N Extant Yes
Djibouti N Extant Yes
Egypt N Extant Yes
Eritrea N Extant Yes
Ethiopia N Extant Yes
Finland V Extant Yes
France N Extant Yes
Georgia N Extant Yes
Germany N Extant Yes
Gibraltar (to UK) N Extant Yes
Greece N Extant Yes
Hungary N Extant Yes
India N Extant Yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of N Extant Yes
Iraq N Extant Yes
Ireland V Extant Yes
Israel N Extant Yes
Italy N Extant Yes
Jordan N Extant Yes
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Kuwait N Extant Yes
Kyrgyzstan N Extant Yes
Latvia N Extant Yes
Lebanon N Extant Yes
Libya N Extant Yes
Liechtenstein N Possibly Extinct Yes
Lithuania N Extant Yes
Luxembourg N Extant Yes
Mali N Extant Yes
Malta V Extant Yes
Mauritania N Extant Yes
Moldova N Extant Yes
Mongolia N Extant Yes
Montenegro N Extant Yes
Morocco N Extant Yes
Nepal N Extant Yes
Netherlands N Extant Yes
New Zealand I Extant Yes
Niger N Extant Yes
North Korea V Extant Yes
North Macedonia N Extant Yes
Norway V Extant Yes
Oman N Extant Yes
Pakistan N Extant Yes
Palestinian Authority Territories N Extant Yes
Poland N Extant Yes
Portugal N Extant Yes
Qatar N Extant Yes
Romania N Extant Yes
Russia N Extant Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes
Saudi Arabia N Extant Yes
Serbia N Extant Yes
Slovakia N Extant Yes
Slovenia N Extant Yes
Somalia N Extant Yes
South Korea N Extant Yes
Spain N Extant Yes
Sudan N Extant Yes
Sweden V Extant Yes
Switzerland N Extant Yes
Syria N Extant Yes
Tajikistan N Extant Yes
Tunisia N Extant Yes
Turkey N Extant Yes
Turkmenistan N Extant Yes
Ukraine N Extant Yes
United Arab Emirates N Extant Yes
United Kingdom N Extant Yes
Uzbekistan N Extant Yes
Western Sahara N Extant Yes
Yemen N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Azerbaijan Alty Agach area
Azerbaijan Kusari (Gusari) area
Azerbaijan Lachin area
Azerbaijan Ordubad area
Cyprus Xeros Valley and Hanoutaris Cliffs
Cyprus Akamas and Agia Aikaterini – Agia Paraskevi Gorges
Romania Satchinez marsh
Romania Rarău Mountains - Giumalău
Slovenia Ribnica valley
Slovenia River Drava
Slovenia Goričko
Poland Augustów forest
Poland Gródek-Michalowo basin
Greece River Axios
Greece Axios, Loudias and Aliakmonas rivers' deltas
Greece Mount Cholomontas
Greece Mesolongi and Aitoliko lagoons, Acheloos delta and Evinos estuary
Greece Mount Parnassos
Greece Mount Ochi and surrounding marine area
Greece Divari Pylou (Gialova) lagoon and Sfaktiria island
Greece East Lakonia mountains
Greece Lefka Ori mountains, Crete
Greece Mount Idi, Crete
Greece Mountains of Naxos
Greece Evrotas delta
Greece Nisyros island and surrounding islets
Greece Chalki island and surrounding islets
Greece Lake Stymfalia
Greece Mount Vardousia
Greece Islands and islets of northern Sporades and northwestern coast of Alonnisos
Greece Kythira island
Greece Antichasia mountains and Meteora
Greece Mount Vourinos
Greece Kalamaki gorge and Zarkou mountains
Greece Mount Othrys
Greece Apsalos and Moglenitsa gorges
Greece Kato Olympos, Tempi gorge and mount Ossa
Greece Filiouri valley and eastern Rodopi mountains
Greece Kompsatos valley
Greece Pineios delta
Greece Artzan reservoir
Greece Ikaria island
Greece Lake Kourna, Almyros delta and Georgioupolis coast, Crete
Greece Amorgos island
Greece Patmos island and surrounding islets
Greece Echinades, Kalamos and Atokos islands
Greece Kinaros and Levitha islands and surrounding islets
Greece Islands and islets of northern Dodecanese
Greece Kalymnos, Telendos, Kalolimnos islands and surrounding islets
Greece Mount Falakro
Greece Artemisio and Lyrkeio mountains
Greece Mount Kyllini (Ziria)
Greece Mount Chelmos (Aroania)
Greece Mount Ymittos
Greece Mount Kochylas, Skyros
Greece Western Skyros and islets
Greece Mount Mavrovouni, Larisa
Greece Reservoirs of former lake Karla
Greece Agios Efstratios island
Greece Southwestern Lesvos and Petrified forest
Greece Mount Olympos and pine forest of central Lesvos
Greece Mount Lepetymnos, Lesvos, and surrounding marine area
Greece Gera gulf, Ntipi and Charamida marshes, Lesvos
Greece Paros and Antiparos islands and surrounding islets
Greece Tilos island and surrounding islets
Greece Valtou mountains
Greece Mount Kantili
Greece Symi island and surrounding islets
Greece Southern Mani, mount Sangias and cape Tainaro
Greece Mount Itamos
Greece Akarnanika mountains
Greece Acherontas gorge and estuary
Greece Tzena and Pinovo mountains
Greece Acheloos valley
Greece Amvrakikos gulf
Greece Mount Taygetos
Greece Astypalaia island and surrounding islets
Greece Kalloni Gulf, Lesvos
Greece Mount Voras (Kaïmaktsalan)
Greece Mount Beles (Kerkini)
Greece Mount Krousia (Mavrovouni and Dysoro)
Greece Lake Kerkini
Greece Lake Ismarida (Mitrikou)
Greece Mount Pangaio
Greece Porto Lagos, lake Vistonida and coastal lagoons
Greece Mount Menoikio
Greece Nestos delta and coastal lagoons
Greece Nestos gorge
Greece Lake Kastoria
Greece Saria island and northern Karpathos
Greece Lakes Chortarolimni and Alyki, Moudros gulf, Diapori fen and Fakos peninsula, Limnos
Greece Kasos island and surrounding islets
Greece Psara and Antipsara islands and surrounding islets
Greece Thessaly plain
Greece National Park of Dadia - Lefkimi - Soufli forest
Greece Barbas and Klokos mountains and Selinountas gorge
Greece Lavreotiki peninsula and Patroklos islet
Greece South forest complex of Evros prefecture
Greece Dadia - Dereio - Aisymi forest
Greece Vouraïkos gorge and Kalavryta
Greece Western, eastern and southern Rhodes
Greece Northeastern peninsula of Crete
Hungary Bihar Plain
Hungary Borsodi-Mezőség
Hungary Aggtelek Karst
Hungary Hanság
Hungary Lower Tisza Valley
Hungary Kesznyéten
Spain River Moros
Spain Cogul-Alfés steppes
Spain Llobregat delta
Spain Mountains of Barcelona
Spain Lerida steppes
Ukraine Cape Martiyan
Ukraine Dniprovs'ko-Oril's'kyj Nature Reserve
Ukraine Velykomykhailivskyj forest
France Vallée de la Loire : confluence Loire-Vienne
France Vallée de la Meuse
France Vallée de la Durance : de Tallard à Sisteron
France Marais de Sacy
France Bassigny
France Vallée du Fouzon
France Forêt de la Reine
France Crau
France Iles Marseillaises: Maire, Jarron, Jarre, Riou, Calseraigne, Congloue et Pomègues
France Plateau de Valensole
France Etangs et marais du bassin de la Somme
France Vallée de la Loire : de Nantes à Montsoreau
France Val de Saône
Italy Mount Beigua
Italy River Po: from the mouth of Adda river to Ostiglia
Italy River Po: from Ticino mouth to Adda mouth
Italy Piave river
Italy Taro river
Italy Laga mountains
Italy Vico lake
Italy Tolfa hills
Italy Cicolano
Italy Mount Cervati
Italy Litorale Romano
Italy Mount Grappa
Czechia Krivoklatsko (Krivoklatsko region)
Czechia Doupov hills
Serbia Subotica lakes and sandy terrain
Serbia Fruska gora
Serbia Danube loess bluffs
Georgia Eastern Caucasus
Georgia Iori Region
Serbia Vršačke Planine
Serbia Cer mountain
Slovakia Slovenský karst
Slovakia Malé Karpaty
Serbia Mala Vrbica
Armenia Khosrov Reserve
Austria Southern Seewinkel and Zitzmannsdorfer Wiesen
Austria North-eastern Leithagebirge
Austria Surroundings of Mattersburg
Austria Western Weinviertel
Austria Lösslandschaft and Wagram east of Krems
Austria Parndorfer Platte and Heideboden
Austria Heideboden
Germany Rhön Biosphere Reserve
Germany Schwalm-Nette-Platte and Grenzwald
Germany Niers valley
Germany Hellwegbörde
Germany Orchard landscape between Hohenstaufen and Teck in the mid-Albvorland
Germany Wagbach lowlands
Germany Bastau lowlands
Germany Wahner Heide
Germany Lower Rhine
Germany Rieselfelder Münster
Germany Recker Moor/ Düsterdieker Niederung/ Seester Feld
Germany Emsaue (Rietberger Emsniederung - Steinhorster Becken)
Germany Old Picardie
Germany Steinhuder Meer
Germany Diepholzer Moorniederung and Siedener Moor
Germany Orchards at the lower Main
Germany Lahn valley from Marburg to Wetzlar
Germany Dune and aeolian sand area Dudenhofen, Babenhausen, Seligenstadt
Germany Hessian Rhine alluvion
Germany Bliesgau
Germany Alluvion of the middle Horloff
Germany Rhine flats Sasbach - Wittenweier
Germany Enz valley Mühlhausen - Roßwag
Germany Kaiserstuhl
Germany Stromberg
Germany Orchards and oakwoods near Filderstadt and Echterdingen
Belarus Liebiadziny Moch
Bulgaria Zhrebchevo Reservoir
Bulgaria Ivailovgrad Reservoir
Bulgaria Kresna Gorge
Bulgaria Atanasovsko Lake
Bulgaria Kaliakra
Bulgaria Galata
Bulgaria Batova
Bulgaria Bakarlaka
Bulgaria Vrachanski Balkan
Bulgaria Sredna Gora
Bulgaria Rila
Bulgaria Pirin
Bulgaria Besaparski Hills
Bulgaria Sinite Kamani-Grebenets
Bulgaria Kamenski Bair
Bulgaria Western Rhodopes
Bulgaria Karlukovski Karst
Bulgaria Arda Bridge
Bulgaria Melnik Pyramids
Bulgaria Dobrostan
Bulgaria Slavyanka Mountain
Bulgaria Osogovo Mountain
Bulgaria Trigrad-Mursalitsa
Bulgaria Mikre Meadows
Bulgaria Palakaria
Bulgaria Vasilyovska Mountain
Bulgaria Maritsa-Parvomay
Bulgaria Studenets
Bulgaria Svishtov-Belene Lowland
Bulgaria Adata-Tundzha
Bulgaria Nikopolsko Plateau
Bulgaria Rupite
Bulgaria Devetashko Plateau
Bulgaria Ruy Mountain
Bulgaria Zemen Gordge
Portugal Castro Verde plains
France Baie de Bourgneuf et marais breton
France Val d'Allier Bourbonnais
France Haut Val d'Allier
France Gorges de la Sioule
France Planèze de Saint-Flour
France Montagne de la Serre
France Sologne Bourbonnaise
France Vallée de la Loire: Pit majeur d'Iguerande à Décize
France Vallée de la Loire : gorges de la Loire
France Les Couzes Nord
France Les Couzes Sud
France Vallée de la Nive des Aldudes-Col de Lindux
France Forêt de Jugny
France Forêt de Châtillon et environs
France Arrière Côte de Dijon et de Beaune
France Forêt d'Orléans: massifs d'Ingrannes et de Lorris
France Vallée du Régino
France Forêt de Chaux
France Vallée de la Saône de Corre à Broye
France Basse Vallée du Doubs : Dole Sud
France Boucle de Pose et de Muids
France Estuaire et embouchure de la Seine
France Plateau de Delme, Val de Petite Seille
France Fresnes-en-Woëvre-Mars-la-Tour
France Hautes Corbières
France Basses Corbières
France Gorges de la Vis et cirque de Navacelles
France Massif des Albères
France Massif du Canigou-Carança
France Gorges du Gardon
France Hautes garrigues du Montpellierais
France Minervois
France Parc National des Cévennes
France Montagnes de Marcou, de l'Espinouse et du Caroux
France Massif du Petit Lubéron
France Estuaire de la Charente
France Vallée de la Charente et de la Seugne (Cabariot-Pons/St-Sever-de-Saintonge)
France Forêt du Gavre
France La Dombes
France Basse Ardêche
France Iles du Haut-Rhône
France Plaine du Forez
France Parc National de la Vanoise
France Haute chaîne du Jura: défilé de l'écluse, Etournel et Mont Vuache
France Val d'Allier : Saint-Yorre-Joze
Bulgaria Ponor
Russia (European) Kurmyshskaya flood-land
Bulgaria Kamchiyska Mountain
Bulgaria Ludogorie
Bulgaria Western Balkan
Bulgaria Western Strandzha
Bulgaria Central Balkan
Italy Middle course of River Brenta
Ukraine Desna river part of National Nature Park "Desnyans'ko-Staroguts'kyj"
Austria Riede in the northern Rhein valley
Ukraine Serednyotomakivske reservior
Ukraine National Park Stara Guta
Ukraine Voloshans'ka dacha
Ukraine Komisarovskyj Forest
Italy River Po: from Ticino mouth to Boscone island
Italy River Mincio and Bosco Fontana
Italy Ticino river
Italy Brabbia peatland, Lake Varese and Lake Biandronno
Turkmenistan Garashor
Italy Crava-Morozzo lakes
Kazakhstan Kenshektau Mountains
Slovenia Škocjan Bay
North Macedonia Pelagonia
Germany Wetterau
Germany Gildehauser Venn
Germany Engdener Wüste
Germany Valley of River Ems
Germany Vorderer Steigerwald - Windsheimer Bucht - Steigerwald-Vorland
Germany Hasbruch
Germany Georgsdorfer and Dalum-Wietmarscher Moor and Alte Piccardie
Germany Vorland of the Mittlere Schwäbische Alb
Germany Mittlere Schwäbische Alb with Albuch, Härtsfeld and Schmiechener See
Germany Hedges and orchards areas in the Lumda valley
Germany Orchards in the Wetterau
Luxembourg Valley of the Trëtterbaach
Luxembourg Mines of the region of Differdange
Luxembourg Valley of Trintange
Luxembourg Valley of the Attert
Luxembourg Region of the Middle Lias
Lebanon Semi Deserts of Ras Baalbek
Poland Warta River Mouth
Poland Upper Huczwa River Catchment
Cyprus Diarizos Valley
Cyprus Karpasia Peninsula - Kleides Islands
Cyprus Pentadaktylos Mountains
Kazakhstan Naurzum State Nature Reserve
Kazakhstan Ili River Delta
Kazakhstan Sorbulak Lake System
Kazakhstan Chardara Reservoir
Kazakhstan Zhusandala
Kazakhstan Donyz-Tau cliff faces
Kazakhstan Syrdarya Delta Lakes
Kazakhstan Chingiztau Mountains
Kazakhstan Karabas Mountains
Kazakhstan Arkaly Mountains
Kazakhstan Karagie Depression
Kazakhstan Shoshkakol Lakes
Turkmenistan Akjagaya

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Rural Gardens suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable resident
Grassland Temperate suitable resident
Savanna Dry suitable resident
Shrubland Boreal suitable resident
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable resident
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 2600 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Athene noctua. Downloaded from on 28/11/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/11/2020.