8 Types of Owls in Minnesota

Many different bird species can be found in the state of Minnesota. One species that live here are owls, of which Minnesota is home to roughly 12 different types.

Some species are restricted to a specific area, such as the short-eared Owl, which can only be spotted in the northern region. 

As the great horned Owl is overprotective in securing its area, it has been seen attacking other species ruthlessly; these owls also differ in size and behavior. Additionally, much more fascinating information is provided on these owls.

Barn's OwlBarn's Owl
Great Horned OwlGreat Horned Owl
Short-Eared OwlShort-Eared Owl
Snowy OwlSnowy Owl
Burrowing OwlBurrowing Owl
Eastern Screech OwlEastern Screech Owl
Spotted OwlSpotted Owl
The Northern Saw-Whet OwlThe Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Types of Owls in Minnesota

Minnesota is home to a variety of species of birds and a home to a number of a genus of owls. Among them, a few are mentioned below.

1. Barn’s Owl

Barn Owl

The Barn Owl’s scientific name is Tyto alba. Its whole body is coated in mild brown and grey feathers, with only its belly appearing totally white under certain lighting conditions.

This Owl is one of the most prevalent owl species in North America, with a wide distribution spanning over 46 different states.

You are likely to observe a female of this species since she uses her breeding nest all year round, which is unusual for many owls.

With facial discs in the shape of hearts that direct sound into their ears and alert them to the rustling of tiny animals, snakes, fish, and insects, barn owl bodies are designed for predation.

Depending on the amount of available prey, barn owls can reproduce year-round, laying one or several clutches each year that contain anywhere between three and eleven eggs.

The wide spaces like plains and marshes, where hunting is easier for the birds, are where they like to build their tree nests.

2. Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl, also known as Bubo virginianus, has large, pointed ears that mimic the horns stated in the species name.

These medium-sized owls may successfully mate and build nests in suburban settings like city parks, while they are more frequently seen in deeper forests.

Males and females both establish monogamous breeding pairs and cooperate in keeping the nest safe. They are fiercely protective of their territory, and it has been reported that they may even kill people of the same species if they feel threatened.

The mating partners are devoted to one another and stay together during the breeding season. They will, however, roost apart.

Given their wide distribution, it is not unexpected that these owls live permanently in Minnesota and may be observed there in every part of the state.

Although they appear to be distributed pretty evenly throughout the state, there seem to be more sightings reported on the eastern edge of the state.

3. Short-Eared Owl

Short-Eared Owl

The short-eared Owl is also known as Asio flammeus. Its name comes from the fact that its ear tufts are so small that they are invisible.

These owls have average size for an owl genus, and all of their bodies are covered in brown feathers with buff spots.

Large expanses of open grasslands serve as their nesting environment. Depending on the season, their degree of activity and resting habits vary.

When breeding season arrives, they prefer to be energetic at all times of the day and night.

Similar to the Long-eared Owl, these birds can only be spotted in Minnesota’s northern regions during the mating season.

Throughout the year, they may be spotted throughout the southern part of the state, with the extreme southern region recording the greatest number of sightings.

4. Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

The snowy Owl is also known as Bubo scandiacus. Although there have been several sightings in various states, the Snowy Owl is far more frequent in arctic regions compared to the United States.

Bright white feathers covering its body aid in camouflaging it against snow in its arctic environments male of this bird will throw a lemming or other piece of prey close to the female as just a present to her during the courtship show.

He won’t do this until giving her a flying show that includes deep dives. These owls are aggressive and possessive, and they will defend their territory fiercely.

It has been documented that couples have attacked an arctic wolf and have dive-bombed people who approach their habitats too closely.

Although these owls seldom go to the U.s, they have been spotted in Minnesota in the winter. This is due to them relocating to the south to escape the winter.

All around Minnesota, sightings have been reported, although the northwest of the state has had the most sightings.

5. Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl

The Burrowing Owl, also known as Athene cunicularia, has tiny proportions for an owl and has brown and white feathers.

These owls may be found in open suburban spaces like cemeteries as well as open grassland habitats, where they typically reside.

When possible, they will forage on the ground while they have been observed hunting both during the day and at night.

Male birds frequently remain on the surface close to the burrows, whereas females frequently stay within the holes in the ground with their offspring.

The male’s responsibility is to guard the nest while the mother rears the young. Although most of the time monogamous, these birds will sometimes pair with just a few different people.

These birds only visit Minnesota throughout their breeding seasons; they are not year-round inhabitants of the state.

Only a few sightings have been reported in Minnesota, and they have all occurred on the state’s western border.

6. Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl

In order to blend in with trees, the Eastern Screech-Owl features long, sharply pointed ear tufts and a distinctive pattern of grey feathers.

These owls don’t have a specific preference for their habitat; any place with adequate thick trees will do.


They do appear to have extended their nest range to even more suburban locations, including sites like city parks, in more recent years.

Males establish permanent mating partnerships, including one or two females, and are very territorial.

Both members of the mating couple contribute to raising the young, and the males provide nourishment to the female who is caring for the fledglings.

These owls are year-round inhabitants of Minnesota and are present across much of the state.

The southeastern region of the state has the largest number of sightings on record, while they are most prolific during their mating seasons.

7. Spotted Owl

Spotted Owl

The spotted Owl is also known as Strix occidentalis. The brown and white speckled pattern that covers the Spotted Owl’s feathers is well recognized. On their abdomen, these feathery markings are most noticeable.

These owls are often found in older woods and, if present, in denser woodland settings.

These owls establish breeding pairs and stay together for several seasons since they are monogamous birds. Before they start mating, the pair will start roosting together and spend a lot of time grooming each other’s feathers.

Fledglings will usually stay with their parents for about three months before breaking off and going alone.

There are several different subspecies of Spotted owls, and the one you will see in the state of Minnesota is the Northern Spotted Owl.

They can be seen in the state throughout the year, but they are not commonly found there.

The only sightings of this bird have been recorded in the southwest of the state.

8. Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

The Northern Saw Whet Owl, also known as Aegolius acadicus, belongs to the much smaller owl species and has a large round head and broad orange eyes.

Their backs and wings are both clothed in brown feathers that feature overlapping patterns in various tones. Their bellies, in contrast, have a dazzling white color.

These creatures will only build their nests in regions with many trees, preferably in the oldest forest they can locate.

These owls are frequently preyed upon by a number of bigger owl species, including some that we have already discussed in this article, due to their tiny size.

All around Minnesota, these owls may be observed. In the northern part of the state, they live permanently, but they are only observed in the southern half during the mating season. Along the state’s western border, the most sightings have been reported.


Minnesota is amongst the largest states in The United States of America. It is filled with the blessings of nature as it has vast lands filled with greenery that attracts many species, especially the Owls mentioned in this article.

All of these species of Owls are of various skin colors and sizes and feed on similar as well as unique items to each of them.

Some of them breed throughout the year, while some mate in specific seasons.


What is the scientific name for Spotted Owl?

The scientific name for the Spotted Owl is Strix Occidentalis.

In what regions is the snowy Owl seen more frequently?

Snowy Owl is seen in the arctic regions more frequently.

What is the most common Owl in Minnesota?

The most common Owl in Minnesota is The Great Horned Owl.

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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