12 Common Owls in Maryland

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You may have spotted Owls in Maryland and must have wondered about their names and origin. Here are all the details!

Have you ever been captivated by the mysterious hoot echoing through the Maryland woods at dusk, and wondered what winged enigma is behind that evocative sound? You’re not alone! Maryland offers birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts an exciting array of species to discover. Curious to know which owls you can spot in your backyard or during your next forest hike? Keep scrolling to know about the common Owls in Maryland.

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Owls in Maryland

1. Barn Owl

Owls in Maryland 1

Scientific Name: Tyto alba

Known for its silent flight, this is one of the rare Owls in Maryland. Its heart-shaped face has red plumage and a white underside. It hunts small rodents at night, making it an effective natural pest control program.

2. Barred Owl

Scientific Name: Strix varia

Known for its distinctive call, the Barred Owl is a common sight in Maryland’s mature forests. Its strikingly patterned feathers and dark eyes make it a favorite among birdwatchers.

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3. Eastern Screech Owl

Owls in Maryland 3

Scientific Name: Megascops asio

Small yet fierce, the Eastern Screech Owl comes in two color morphs—gray and rufous—and thrives in suburban and woodland habitats. Its masterful camouflage keeps it well-hidden during the day.

4. Great Horned Owl

Scientific Name: Bubo virginianus

As one of the most powerful and widespread owls in North America, the Great Horned Owl is recognizable by its tufted “horns” and deep hooting calls. It preys on a wide variety of animals, from small rodents to larger prey.

5. Long-Eared Owl

Owls in Maryland 5

Scientific Name: Asio otus

These Owls in Maryland are secretive and slender species, and you can easily recognize them by their long ear tufts. They favor dense vegetation for roosting and are most active during twilight and nighttime.

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6. Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Scientific Name: Aegolius acadicus

This diminutive owl species is popular for its high-pitch whistles and small size. The Northern Saw-Whet Owl is common in coniferous forests, and despite its small size, is a master hunter.

7. Short-Eared Owl

Owls in Maryland 7

Scientific Name: Asio flammeus

Common to open country, these Owls in Maryland are easy to spot by their round face and short ear tufts. It often hunts during the day, making it more visible than many other owl species.

8. Snowy Owl

Scientific Name: Bubo scandiacus

The striking Snowy Owl, primarily an Arctic species, makes rare but exciting appearances in Maryland during winter irruptions. Its immaculate white plumage and large size are awe-inspiring!

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9. American Barn Owl

Owls in Maryland 9

Scientific Name: Tyto furcata

Famous for its heart-like face and eerie, raspy screeches, these Owls in Maryland are highly adaptable, thriving in farmland and other open habitats. They are pro rodent predators.

10. Burrowing Owls

Scientific Name: Athene cunicularia

Unique for their ground-dwelling behavior, you can easily spot these Owls in Maryland standing upright near their burrow entrances. They thrive in open, dry habitats and have a diet that includes insects and small mammals.

11. Flammulated Owl

Owls in Maryland 11

Scientific Name: Psiloscops flammeolus

This petite, migratory owl species features flame-like markings on its face and is seldom seen due to its nocturnal habits. It primarily resides in pine forests in the western United States but is a rare find in Maryland.

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12. Northern Hawk Owl


Scientific Name: Surnia ulula

The Northern Hawk Owl is a day-hunting species that closely resembles a hawk in flight. It inhabits boreal forests and is extremely rare in Maryland, making any sighting a noteworthy event.

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