The little owl is a member of the true owl family, Strigidae. They are spread across North Africa, Europe (except the Scandinavian Peninsula), middle Asia and was even once introduced to Britain and New Zealand. Little owl grows the size of a pigeon, has a wide flat-topped head, short tail and massive legs with typically sharp claws. Their body is dark brown with lighter spots, their belly is striped, lower tail and limbs are light. They have expressive yellow eyes with a white stripe right above them. They feed on small rodents, insects, lizards and even frogs and snakes. They feed their young with earthworms. In captive breeding, we feed them with mice, superworms, grasshoppers and they did not even despise a cooked risotto (poultry or beef meat, rice, root vegetables). Their breeding season is from April to July, mostly in holes in trees. In captive breeding, long and narrow nesting boxes, that resembles a hollowed-out strong branch, worked the best for us. In the years 2013 to 2015, we raised them annually, before our breeding male died. This year we built a new pair, that already lives in the same aviary for a few months now. Some breeders advice to separate the pairs after the breeding season and reconnect them before another season, so the male is not attacked by a bigger female. Part of the offsprings is moved into different rescue sanctuaries as breeding pairs and another part is released back to the wild, with the help of AVES, z.s. Kladno. In past years, this species became severely endangered. Its populations for the last 30 years decreased by 60%.
The populations in the Czech Republic is estimated at less than 100 pairs. In 2018, the little owl was voted the bird of the year.