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The Little Owl: Conservation, Ecology and Behavior of Athene noctua

By: Dries van Nieuwenhuyse(Author), Jean-Claude Génot(Author), David H Johnson(Author)

574 pages, 30 b/w plates, 128 b/w photos, 50 b/w illustrations, 54 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Feb 2011 | #187747 | ISBN-13: 9780521714204
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £55.99 $74/€64 approx
Hardback | Sep 2008 | #175305 | ISBN-13: 9780521886789
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £124.00 $164/€141 approx

About this book

Understanding of the basic biology of owls is poor compared to that of other bird species. The Little Owl, Athene noctua, has become one of the best models for biological and conservation research, due to its commonness and the fact that it occupies nest-boxes very easily.

In The Little Owl: Conservation, Ecology and Behavior of Athene noctua, the authors synthesise the substantial literature, and detail current information regarding the Little Owl. They discuss its wide-ranging ecology, genetics and subspecies and population status by country. In addition, they outline a strategy and monitoring program for its conservation.

The Little Owl: Conservation, Ecology and Behavior of Athene noctua features an outstanding bibliography of literature on the Little Owl, listing publications dated from 1769 to the present day, in many languages, including Russian, English, French, Dutch, German, Spanish and Italian. Whilst being an invaluable resource for academic researchers, its straightforward style holds undoubted appeal for amateurs and enthusiasts.

"[...] Van Nieuwenhuyse and his co-authors have certainly given us a fascinating read. However, the most impressive aspect of this book is the huge amount of work the authors did to cover almost all the literature ever published in every type of source [...] if you want to know anything about the Little Owl, this book probably contains the information you seek, while clues are also offered to some as-yet-unanswered questions."
– Inigo Zuberogoitia, Ibis - The Journal of the British Ornithologists' Union, July 2009

"The book comprehensively covers all aspects of the Little Owl's life, including sections on history, conservation, breeding biology, behaviour, habitat, food, distribution, taxonomy and world population. In other words virtually everything you would want to know about the species may be found here."
Scottish Birds

"This wonderful monograph draws on an astonishing 1900 references and decades of fieldwork, accumulated by three enthusiastic, leading 'owlologists'. [...] You can feel the authors' passion for this species on every page [...] The Little Owl is a 'must-have' for anyone who has become spellbound by this charming and charismatic species."

"A must have for those with an interest in the little owl or owls in general."
Birdbooker Report (


1. Introduction
2. History and traditions
3. Taxonomy and genetics
4. Morphology and body characteristics
5. Distribution, population estimates and trends
6. Habitat
7. Diet
8. Breeding season
9. Behaviour
10. Population regulation
11. Conservation
12. Research priorities
13. Monitoring plan for the Little Owl
14. Citizen conservation and volunteer work on Little Owls - the past, present and future
15. Literature cited
16. Appendices

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Dries Van Nieuwenhuyse lectures on orporate performance management at EHSAL Management School in Brussels. He is a serious amateur naturalist and has studied owls and shrikes for 27 years.

Jean-Claude Genot completed his PhD on the ecology of the Little Owl at the University of Burgundy. He currently manages nature conservation in the regional park of Vosges du Nord and has monitored the Little Owl in this region since 1984.

David Johnson has worked in natural resource conservation for 29 years and has written two books on owls, wildlife and fisheries. He is currently Executive Director of the Global Owl Project.

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