Screech Owl Otus asio
The Screech Owl is New Jersey's most common breeding owl and is a permanent, year round resident. Preferring open woodland terrain, it lives in rural suburbs, farming districts, city parks and apple orchards. It is small, 7 to 10 inches tall with a wingspan of 18 to 24 inches, and occurs in two color phases, or morphs: gray and red. It has prominent, wide-set feather tufts and bright yellow eyes. Its name is misleading as a description of its voice. Rather than a screech, its call is a plaintive, mellow trill, descending in tone, said to resemble the whinny of a horse. The Screech Owl eats a wide variety of prey including small rodents, amphibians and fish. In summer, large quantities of insects are consumed.
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