Hi everyone,

I found this feather in a field in Malmo, Sweden a few days ago. The only birds of prey I've seen around here are kestrels, but I'm sure there could be more. I'm desperate to know what bird this came from as I can't seem to identify it myself with other images!

It's about 14.5cm long.

Any help at all would be fantastic!

  • Any chance of a photo showing the leading edge (the skinny side) - it could well be an owl feather, and they have characteristics that tell if it is an owl or not. There's also a chance it is from something like a bittern or egret.
    – bob1
    Jul 23, 2020 at 20:41
  • Is this what you mean? @bob1 i.imgur.com/0sTBPnc.jpg i.imgur.com/IWcm6PQ.jpg i.imgur.com/0zrLgVn.mp4 Sorry about the video quality, I can try again if that one doesn't help. Thank you so much for helping me!
    – Pine
    Jul 24, 2020 at 9:33
  • I fanned out the skinny side a little and it looks like this: i.imgur.com/jYDThPJ.jpg i.imgur.com/F1i9ii3.jpg I'm really excited to know if it's an owl feather now and maybe what kind of owl!
    – Pine
    Jul 24, 2020 at 9:59
  • Hmm, I don't think owl, it looks too uneven. Almost certainly a raptor of some sort. I would guess something like a sparrowhawk, harrier or goshawk might fit, as would kestrel or falcon. I'm no expert though, or even from europe, so that's about as far as my knowledge extends.
    – bob1
    Jul 24, 2020 at 10:31
  • Oh it's a shame it's probably not an owl. Thank you so much for your input though! It's given me some new avenues to explore :)
    – Pine
    Jul 24, 2020 at 10:51

2 Answers 2


I think it is a secondary feather of a Long-eared Owl.

The Long-eared Owl caught my eye when I was looking through the book Tracks & Signs of the Birds of Britain and Europe. A quick internet search found this photo, which I think looks very similar and the length also matches: Phooto of Long-eared Owl feathers, Public Domain https://www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas/feather.php?Bird=LEOW_secondary_male.

You appear to get Long-eared Owls in Sweden. This distribution map shows the breeding range in yellow and the resident range in green.
enter image description here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-eared_owl#/media/File:Asio_otus_distribution_map.png

  • The fuzzy edge looks like an owl. Aug 9, 2020 at 15:39

This is a tail feather. The asymmetry suggests that it was an outer tail feather vs. an inner tail feather--this distinction exists in most species of bird and a species argument based on this alone would be tenuous at best.

This would be a tail feather and not a secondary wing feather because the bend in the shaft is localized at one location towards the bottom of the feather. Secondaries are typically curved throughout the shaft.

This is an owl feather based on the fuzzy surface of the feather and the fact that this pale orange color is very common in typical owl (Strigidae) species.

Finally, the best species match for location and pattern would be Long-eared Owl.

Long-eared Owl feathers

Tail feathers are at the bottom left of the photo. This and additional scans available at https://www.featherbase.info/en/exhibit/2981

So in conclusion this is a tail feather from a Long-eared Owl.

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