kweff's picture

Owl Pellet- Species?

Observed: 14th May 2013 By: kweff
Owl Pellet-1724

Obviously an owl pellet but is it possible to tell from which species? It was about 5cm x 2cm x 2cm.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


DebbieA's picture


Can you say a bit about where you found it -for example what habitat was it in? Was it on its own or amongst a pile of other pellets?

This might help to give an identification.

Also do you still have it? - have you thought about looking at the bones within the pellet - great fun! For help, have a look on the barn owl trust website (doesn't mean its a barn owl just has some good identification keys and picture for looking at barn owl pellets).

Debbie Alston

kweff's picture

Thanks for comments.

I've been away - thanks for comments. Habitat was under a mature hedgrow with a large dead oak tree nearby, between open fields. It's a Hampshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve and grazed but not "improved". I left it where I found it! I was very hopeful it was a barn owl as I thought I had seen one at this spot a few months ago, flying away from me through the trees, but didn't get a clear enough view to be sure. I've since shown the photo to a HWT bird expert and he thought, without prompting, it was most probably a barn owl.

Isavar's picture

habitat and what is not

Excellent observation kweff

I agree with Debbie, habitat info will help a lot

It also will help to look at what is not. Unlikely to be from little owl, long-eared owl. This is due to content and shape and colour

I am inclined to think Barn owl, maybe short-eared owl or tawny. location, shape of both ends and looking and contents will help

Are there feathers or only mammal remaining?
look at the lower jaw to determine what kind of mice or vole it is.
Was it found in grassland? next to a tree? woodland?

Excellent and exciting find. Why not take pics of the bones and post and id in the mammal section!

Isabel London Biodiversity Mentor

the naturalist man's picture


From the pellet size it could be any of the three commoner owls; barn, tawny and short-eared owls. The skull is of a vole, orange teeth; unfortunately the habitat fits for both field and bank vole.

I don't think short-eared owls are very common in your area and tawny owls prefer to stay close to wooded areas. The habitat of hedges between unimproved grassland is more fitting for barn owl. All three will readily eat voles so that is not much help I'm afraid.

I've put up a possible identification of barn owl, more by a process of elimination than identification!

Graham Banwell

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