8 Types of Owls in Indiana

Owls are fantastic creatures, and they are pretty good to look at. These birds are found throughout America, but they are divided into different species.

Not every state has all the species in one place, which is why today we are discussing different species of owls in Indiana.

In North America, Indiana is a section of the midwest, immediately below the Great Lakes region. The Hoosier state is home to a wide variety of fauna, including numerous bird species.

Owls are among those majestic birds that are also found here. For the people who have seen them with their eyes, they are incredibly fascinating and lovely to observe.

For the best chances of spotting owls in Indiana, walk out to a wooded area at dawn or twilight. Views of expansive grasslands or pastures can be seen from high vantage points at the forest’s edge.

To identify different species that you may find in Indiana, we decided to make a list of all the owls that you will find here.

Short-Eared OwlShort-Eared Owl
Long-Eared OwlsLong-Eared Owls
Barn OwlBarn Owl
Eastern Screech-OwlEastern Screech-Owl
Northern Saw-Whet OwlNorthern Saw-Whet Owl
Barred OwlBarred Owl
Great Horned OwlGreat Horned Owl
Snowy OwlSnowy Owl

Types of Owls in Indiana

1. Short-Eared Owl

Short-Eared Owl

The Short-eared owls are real owls with a medium-sized body coated in brown mottling and are distinguished by their flame-colored feathers and mammalian ears.

Dusk or morning are the best times to look for these owls because those are when they are most active. These owls have ears that are different from those of other owl species; they have ears that resemble those of mammals rather than birds. 

However, it’s simple to overlook these distinctive ears. It’s because their facial hair always hides their ears. Only when they perceive a threat nearby and seek to project intimidation will short-eared owls display their ears.

When these birds are flying, you’ll notice that they resemble bats more than owls. The reason these birds’ smooth flight is hampered by their uneven wing beat. 


They are mostly found around meadows due to two factors. The first is their abundance, and it is not unusual to see short-eared owls in Indiana.

The second reason is that these owls, unlike the majority of other owl breeds, do not strictly stick to the nocturnal schedule and are frequently spotted flying around during the day.

2. Long-Eared Owls

Long-eared Owl

The medium-sized long-eared owl has thick ear tufts. The underparts are pale with brown streaks, whereas the upper parts are dark with white markings.

These owls hunt at night and feed on mice and voles, among other small mammals. They frequently use other birds’ abandoned nests when building their tree nests. All in North America, forests are home to long-eared owls.

Large ear tufts on long-eared owls make identification reasonably simple. One of the rare owl species that is active throughout the day is this one.

Although these owls prefer to hunt at night, they will occasionally do so if there is adequate light. Most of the tiny mammals in their diet are voles and mice.

3. Barn Owl

Barn Owl

The backs of barn owls are buff in color, and they have white underwings, cheeks, chests, and bellies. Their faces are rounded, and they have long, rounded wings.

The Barn Owl is a year-round resident of Indiana; however, they are not extremely frequent. The size of a crow, this nocturnal white-faced bird is absolutely silent. They are known as “barn owls” because they typically sleep in barns during the day.

In the evenings, they wander across wide spaces like fields and meadows in search of small rodents. The male helps more in building the nest the more spots the female has.

Habitat & Food

On their chests, females have markings that deter parasites. They build their nests in caves, tree cavities, and, more frequently, barns or other quiet or deserted buildings.

Nest made consists of pellets that have been regurgitated and arranged into a cup with the assistance of their feet.

Barn owls cough out pellets twice a day after swallowing their meal whole. This type of Owl primarily hunts for prey by listening for sounds because it has the best hearing of any bird that has been tested.

This enables them to catch prey in total darkness when it is buried beneath vegetation or when it is covered in snow. 

There are roughly 46 different species of the barn owl, and they may be found on all six continents. They produce a scratchy screech cry instead of hooting as other owls do.

4. Eastern Screech-Owl

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl comes in a range of hues, including gray, brown, and red. Gray is the most typical color. Adults measure about nine inches long and have a two-foot wingspan. In the eastern United States, Eastern Screech-Owls reside in forested environments.

They frequently use old woodpecker holes to build their nests in tree cavities. Eastern screech owls are usually quite silent.

The call that sounds most like “kree-kree-kree” is a trill. These cries are frequently made to contact partners or to make themselves known to other owls.


Mice and voles are among the small mammals that Eastern Screech-Owls feed. They also consume insects, birds, and reptiles. These owls stalk their prey from a perch before swooping down to seize it.

5. Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Having a medium size, the Northern Saw-Wheat Owl is another owl species found in Indiana. Although males and females have comparable appearances, males are often a little bit smaller than females.

They have feathers that are brown and white with some black streaks. Their eyes are golden, and they have black beaks. They are awake during the night since they are nocturnal. During the day, they rest in trees or on buildings. 

The dead of winter is when Indiana residents are most likely to see Northern Saw-Wheat Owls. They often come to Indiana around October and stay until April.

Habitat & Food

Their main sources of food are mice, bugs, and small rodents. They will also eat reptiles, birds, and insects. These owls can be found in open forests, fields, and even residential settings; they are not typically seen in thickly forested regions, and they nest near water mostly. 

Additionally, they will make use of man-made structures like buildings and bridges. Twigs, leaves, and grass typically make up their nesting material.

You will probably hear a Northern Saw-Wheat Owl before you see it if you are fortunate enough to see one. Their distinctive call resembles “whee-oo” or “too-wit” Additionally, they emit a sound that is frequently compared to a cat meowing.

6. Barred Owl

Barred Owl

The medium-sized Barred Owl has a broad, rounded head and no ear tufts. North America is home to this owl, which is found in forested settings.

The Barred Owl stalks birds, reptiles, and small animals during the night. Prior to swooping down to grab its meal with its talons, it perches on a branch or in a tree and keeps watch for prey. For roosting and nesting, it favors woodlands with a lot of trees and a lot of vegetation.

The wings have broad, lengthy tips. The tail has a short, square shape. In a tree cavity or an abandoned nest belonging to another bird species, the female will construct a twig nest.

She lays two to four eggs, which she then takes 28 to 33 days to incubate. Despite staying with their parents until they are independent at roughly four to five months old, the baby owls fledge at about 40 days old. The Barred Owl does not migrate. 

It sleeps during the day and is active at night. Males will hoot throughout the breeding season to entice a partner. Although it is unknown how long Barred Owls live in the wild, captive birds have been known to live for more than 20 years.

This owl inhabits the southern and central regions of Indiana. It is busiest at dusk and in the evening. It spends the day in trees or dense vegetation, where it roosts. 

Habitat & Food

Forests, parks, gardens, and woodlands are all habitats for the barred owl. It will perch on a branch and keep watch for prey while hunting.

Then it will swoop down and use its talons to snare its prey. It can eat insects, birds, reptiles, small mammals, and birds. In Indiana, common prey species include crayfish, mice, voles, frogs, snakes, shrews, and voles. 

The Barred Owl hunts at night and is frequently spotted perched on a branch or hovering low on the ground in search of prey. 

7. Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

The largest and one of the most common owls in Indiana are the Great Horned Owls. With a wingspan of 60 inches, great-horned owls can reach lengths of 17 to 25 inches. They are up to three pounds in weight.

The huge, noticeable ear tufts on adults are real feathers. The face disc has a black rim and is feathery and tawny in hue. On the breast, there is a sizable, dark “Y” or “V” form mark.

They can be found in all provinces and territories of Canada, all 48 contiguous states of the United States, and Mexico.

Food & Habitat

These owls are nocturnal hunters and will consume nearly anything they can catch, including rodents, rabbits, hares, and other birds as large as geese. Even skunks, snakes, and bats have been known to be taken by them. They don’t have nests.

Instead, they will invade other birds’ nests or make use of a tree’s natural cavity. They can be found in urban settings as well as in forests, woods, and deserts.

Although Great Horned Owls rarely speak, they are capable of a loud, low-hooting sound, “hoo hoo hooooo.” They also make noises like grunting and hissing.

8. Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

The Snowy Owl belongs to the usual owl family and is a big, white owl that is rarely seen in Indiana. Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia are home to snowy owls.

An adult Snowy Owl’s length can reach over 24 inches, and its wingspan can reach 60 inches. Both day and night, snowy owls hunt. Lemmings, voles, and other tiny rodents are typically what they consume.

When nesting, Snowy Owls inhabit open tundra settings. Female owls have more black feather specks than males, who are virtually entirely white in color.

They might be seen in more open settings in the winter, such as airports. Although snowy owls are usually silent, they can occasionally emit a range of sounds, such as hoots, hisses, and screams.

Check out this article on Types of Owls in Missouri and Types of Owls in Ohio.


This discussion shares information on different species of owls in Indiana, and we have shared details on each species individually so that users can learn more about their patterns, sounds, and habitat.

For more details, see FAQ.


Are Snowy Owls Found In Indiana?

Fans of owls should keep an eye out for the first snowy owls to arrive in Indiana. Northwest Indiana lakeside areas are frequently the first places to host snowy owls.

Later in the season, airports scattered throughout the state and open agricultural land are suitable places to conduct searches.

Do Barn Owls Live in Indiana?

Although barn owls can occasionally be seen in northern Indiana, those nests have been found there most recently.

This formerly abundant rural resident of Indiana and many other Midwestern states is now uncommon, and several state wildlife authorities classify the species as endangered.

Which trees do owls prefer to live in?

Typically, Great Horned Owls build their nests in trees like cottonwood, juniper, beech, and pine. In addition to using abandoned structures, cliff ledges, cavities in living trees, dead snags, and man-made platforms, they frequently accept a nest that was previously used by another species.

How old are owls on average?

In the wild, owls typically live 5 to 12 years, although they can live even longer in captivity.

Species differences in owl lifespans are significant; however, we’ll talk more about that later. The lifespans of owls in captivity and those in the wild clearly vary.

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.

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