Búho Vs Lechuza

Búho Vs Lechuza: What’s the Difference?

Owls are magnificent creatures that have fascinated humans for centuries. Their mysterious and silent nature makes them a popular topic of conversation among bird enthusiasts. However, many people are unaware that there are several species of owls, each with their unique physical and behavioral traits. Two of the most commonly confused species are the Búho and the Lechuza. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between these two species and help you identify them correctly.

Physical Differences:

Búho and Lechuza may look similar at first glance, but many physical differences set them apart. Firstly, the Búho tends to be more massive and robust than the Lechuza. They weigh around 3.5 pounds on average, while the Lechuza tends to be lighter, weighing around 2 pounds. Additionally, the Búho has longer ear tufts, which are used to break up their outline and make them less noticeable to predators. In contrast, the Lechuza possesses shorter ear tufts or sometimes no ear tufts at all.

The facial disc is another distinguishing feature between the two species. The Búho has a more extensive facial disc than the Lechuza, which serves as a kind of satellite dish to amplify sound during hunting. Also, the Búho’s facial disc is usually heart-shaped and divided by a central vertical furrow. In contrast, the Lechuza has a round facial disc with no furrow.

Behavioral Differences:

The behavior of Búho and Lechuza is another way to tell them apart. Both species are nocturnal, meaning they hunt at night and sleep during the day, but their habitats and hunting methods differ. The Búho is a more versatile hunter and can live in various habitats, including forests, open fields, and even deserts. They are also believed to be more aggressive when hunting and have been known to take down larger prey, including rabbits and some species of raptors.

In contrast, the Lechuza prefers to reside in thick forests or dense woodlands where they can blend in with the environment. They are known to be less aggressive hunters and prefer to hunt small creatures such as rodents, insects, and small birds. Unlike the Búho, the Lechuza is not known to hunt large mammals or other species of raptors.


The calls of Búho and Lechuza are another good way to distinguish between the two species. Búho’s call is usually a loud, deep hoot that repeats in a series of hoots. The Lechuza, on the other hand, has a more drawn-out screech, more like a whinny, followed by a series of shorter notes. Both species have variations in their calls, depending on their location, season, and social behavior.


Búho’s and Lechuza’s habitat preferences also vary greatly. As mentioned earlier, Búho prefers living in various habitats, including forest, open fields, and even deserts. In contrast, Lechuza prefers to live in woodland or forested areas, where their camouflage abilities are most useful. In general, Búho is the more adaptable species, and Lechuza usually restricts itself to subtropical and neotropical regions.

Conservation Status and Legal Protections:

Both species of owls have been faced with habitat destruction and other human-related impacts affecting their populations. Historically, both species of Búho and Lechuza were hunted for food and trade, but now they are protected under many national and international laws, such as CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Currently, the Búho has varying conservation statuses depending on the subspecies, ranging from “least concern” to “endangered.” Meanwhile, the Lechuza has been listed as “of least of concern” by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Final Thoughts:

In conclusion, the Búho and Lechuza are two owl species commonly confused but which exhibit significant differences in their appearances, behaviors, vocalizations, habitat preferences, and conservation status. It is essential to recognize these differences to ensure the protection of these magnificent birds of prey. With proper conservation efforts, we can help these species thrive and continue to fascinate us with their mystery and beauty.

Keywords: Búho, Lechuza, physical differences, behavioral differences, vocalization, habitat, conservation status, protected, law, conservation efforts.