Owl Facts is
a page, that combined with the pages Owl
Pictures and Owl Clip Art
will give you great information and great pictures of owls.
The owl is a fascinating creature, different from all other
birds in so many ways, with an eyesight and especially a
hearing way better than most animals.
Read about the different types of owls, about their special
hearing using the facial disc as kind of satellite disc, and a
Owls: Types of Owls
many types of owls, including the great Gray owl, the Eastern
screech owl, the pygmy owl, the northern spotted owl, and the snowy
There are over 200 different species of owls, which are divided
into two groups:
owls have powerful talons, legs longer than true owls,
and a face shaped like a heart.
They are usually medium in size,
and the average wingspan is about 3 1/2 feet
(1.06 meters).. There are 16
different types of barn owls, including the barn owl, the sooty
owl, and the Sulawesi owl.
owls are the most varied types of owls, with almost 190
different species of birds in roughly 23 genera.
include horned owls, screech owls, and elf owls. The face of the
true owl is much rounder and is shaped like a disc.
is much shorter than that of barn owls, and their head is much
larger than the heads of their barn owl counterparts.
usually have a much more muted color, often grey, black, brown,
or white. They often have a mottled pattern, which helps them to
hide from prey and predators alike.
The owl uses
to catch and eat its prey, which means that it falls into the
'raptor' category of birds.
Other birds that fall in the 'raptor'
category include the hawk, the falcon, and the eagle.
these other birds, most owls are mostly nocturnal birds.
that the owl prefers to hunt at night when the other birds of prey
For this reason, owls can live peacefully in the same
territory as other birds of prey because the owl is not competing
with the other birds of prey for their food.
Seeing as the owl
sleeps during the day and hunts at night, there is little chance
that the owl will encroach on the territory of the other predatory
There are 19
different species of owls living in North America, 12 of which can
be found nesting in the central state of Idaho.
Nesting means that
the birds actually live in a certain region, rather than just
passing through for mating or migration.
The great Gray owl is the
largest owl found in North America, with the great Horned owl being
the owl that weighs the most.
In North America, the pygmy owl is the smallest species of
A fun fact
about owls is that not all of them are nocturnal creatures, as most
people are led to believe.
The majority of the owls that live in the
world today tend to be nocturnal, however, there are a few
exceptions to the rule.
For example, pygmy owls and burrowing
owls both like to hunt during the day, making them diurnal creatures.
The great horned owl is most active around dawn and dusk,
making it a crepuscular animal.
So despite the stereotypes of owls only
hunting at night, there are certain parts of the world where you can
actually see owls hunting during the daytime.
Owl Facts: Owl Sizes
Owls vary in size, such as the great Gray owl that is
2 feet tall (60 centimeters) or the elf owl that is five
inches tall (12.7 centimeters).
The wingspan of
the owls tends to differ according to the species.
The Eastern screech owl, one of the smallest owls
found in the eastern United States, has a wing span of
just 18 to 24 inches (45.7 to 61 cm).
horned owl, one of the largest owls found in the United
States, has a wing span between 48 and 60 inches (1.21 to
The average wingspan of a barn owl
is roughly 3 1/2 feet (1.06 meters).
Owl Facts: The Eyes of the
Owls are most famous for their eyes, and the eyes of the
owl are truly amazing.
The main purpose of the owl's
eyes is to make the owl able to see in the dark, as that
is when the owl goes out to hunt.
The owl's eyes are
very large in order to be able to collect as much light as
possible in the dark.
The owl's eyes have special rod
cells that are able to collect as much light as possible
despite low levels of light.
Owls have more raw cells
in their eyes than any other animal, including cats and
So even if the owl doesn't primarily use
their eyes for capturing their pray, as you can read
below, their eyesight makes them able to use their eyes to
hunt and navigate when the sun is down.
of the owl are incredibly large, so large, in fact, that
they cannot move their eyeballs in your eye sockets. While
humans are able to roll their eyes, owls are not.
This means that the visual field of the owl is much more
limited than that of humans.
The owl must turn its head
in order to rotate its field of vision, and they are
forced to bob their heads up and down in order to gauge
distance due to their lack of depth perception.
Owls also have a special structure at the back of their
eyes known as the tapetum lucidum. This structure acts
like a mirror that reflects light back onto the rod cells
in the eyes once the light has passed through them.
This means that the owl's eyes basically absorb light
twice, meaning that they are much better able to see in
the dark than any other creature.
You can see how the
light reflects off the owls eyes when you shine a light at
them in the dark, similar to the way a cat’s eyes glow in
Owls and Their
Surprisingly, after reading all these amazing things
about the eyes of the owl, owls don't use their vision
that much when they hunt, they actually primarily use
their ears for hunting.
Owl ears are not actually
on the top of their heads, and the 'ears' that you see are
actually unrelated to hearing and are known as 'ear
has a number of body parts that work together to help the
owl hear extra well in order to be able to hunt in the
facial discs of the owl are the first body part that helps owls
to hunt. The large facial discs are made with special feathers
that are designed to collect the sound that comes near the owls
head. These feathers act exactly like a satellite dish
collecting signals for your TV, and owls could not hear without
placement of the ears of the owl is another of the features that
provide owls with such amazing hearing. The owl's ears are not
placed symmetrically on either side of the head like human ears
are, but are actually placed asymmetrically to ensure that
sounds reach the ears at different times. This is the reason
that the owl raises and lowers its head, as moving its head
gives it the ability to catch sound much more effectively.
Some owls even have a special ear flap that they can
move in order to decrease or increase the sound that
is filtering into their ears.
It is amazing how
well an owl can hear.
A great grey owl can locate
a vole from 60 feet away even when the vole is running
in its tunnel buried beneath a foot and a half of
Barn owls are able to capture their prey
even without the use of their eyes, but they are
unable to do so without the disc-shaped feathers on
their face or if their ears are plugged.
rely much more on their sense of hearing than on their
sense of sight for capturing their prey.
What Do Owls Eat?
Owls will basically eat anything they can get their talons on.
Seeing as they are predators, they eat small animals according to
The small owls like pygmy owls or saw-whet owls will
usually hunt for mice and shrews, as they are too small to hunt
Voles and mice are the two dinners most commonly
consumed by the average owl, and owls can actually benefit humans by
keeping the population of these rodents down.
Large owls tend to
hunt larger prey, such as squirrels, wood rats, voles, and rabbits.
The larger the owl, the larger the prey it tends to hunt.
Great horned owls sometimes even catch skunks for dinner, as well as
bats, fish, toads, scorpions, snakes, frogs, lizards, and even other
The great horned owl is often known for fishing for its
dinner, and it is not uncommon to see an owl swooping down and
dipping its talons into the river to pull out a fresh fish.
Due to the fact that many farmers consider mice to be a pest, owls
are often seen as a blessing for farmers who are trying to control
the number of mice present on their farms.
One barn owl must consume
roughly 79 pounds (36 kilos) of mice per year.
This adds up to
nearly 800 pounds (400
kilograms) of mice during the 10 year lifespan of the average owl.
At roughly 1 ounce (29 grams) per mouse, an owl ends up eating
nearly 13,000 mice during its entire life.
Seeing as how mice need
to eat roughly 10% of its body weight each day, the number of mice
an owl consumes during its lifespan equals roughly 15 metric tons of
food less being consumed each year.
Owl Facts: Owl Activities
Owls are usually fairly sedentary creatures, who prefer
just to hang out or snooze on around the clock.
Most owls will only be active when they are feeding their
young or going hunting for dinner.
An owl that is
napping will usually try to blend into the tree where it
Owls do so by stretching as tall as they can
with their ear tufts extended and their eyes closed. They
will usually stand perfectly still and will blend in with
the branches of the tree in order to fool any enemies who
would see the owl as a tasty lunch.
Owls will assume a
defensive posture when their young are threatened.
The defensive posture of the owl includes fluffing of
feathers in order to appear twice as large. The owl will
also raise its wings like and spread the feathers of its
The owl will then clack its bill and hiss in order to
drive off any predators that would be attacking their
This posture is often enough to convince
potential enemies owls are not worth attacking, and they
will usually let the owl alone.
Most owls are known
to be extremely fierce when it comes to defending their
young. Great horned owls are famous for their fierce
defense of their youngsters, as they often dive bomb
intruders who get too close to the nest. They will use
their feet and talons to attack the intruders and drive
them away from the nest.
Those who live near large
owls should be very careful to not anger them during their
mating season and the period in which their offspring are
More Facts about Owls: Owl Enemies
Owls have few natural
enemies, as they are fairly mild mannered creatures that tend to
mind their own business.
Humans are responsible for 96% of the
deaths of owls around the country.
The Great Horned Owl’s primary enemy is other Great Horned
Owls, and most other owls have few enemies.
Seeing as they are
'raptor' predators, there are few other predators that attack them.
Fun Owl Facts
down to the fun owl facts:
Did you know
snowy owl can eat as many as 1,600 lemmings per year, or 3 to 5
lemmings per day.
owls are heavier and the larger then the males.
wings are large for their body and thus allow them to fly much
more easily and with much less noise than other birds.
owl is the smallest owl at 5 or 6 inches
(12.7 to 15.2 cm) tall and just over an
ounce and a half
(42.45 grams). This means an owl weighs less than the average
average owl doesn’t make its own nest, but simply nests in the
hollow of a tree or in an old nest belonging to a crow, raven,
average owl weighs between 3 1/2 and 4 pounds
(1.6 to 1.8 kilograms).. However, the eyes
of the average owl, weigh roughly 26 ounces
(735 grams), , which is more than
the average human’s eyes weigh.
have better hearing than all the rest of the birds.
owls hunt, they will usually grab their prey with their talons
and kill it instantly. If the owl can’t swallow the prey whole,
they will usually tear it apart with their beaks in order to eat
of an owl can be determined by the pellets left at its roosting
sites. The pellets contain all of the undigested parts of the
owls prey, such as the teeth, hair, claws, and bones.
Eastern screech owl is roughly 10 inches long and weighs 6 or 7
(169.8 or 198.1 grams). . It has a wingspan of 22 inches
The owl’s foot is
structured in order to make it easier for the owl to grip
branches. Two of the toes on the owl’s foot face backward, while
the other two face forward. The owl’s third toe can often be
rotated forward when the owl is perching.
found everywhere around the Earth, except for Antarctica and
will mate for life.
of owls is known as a parliament. (A funny reminder of how grave
and serious owls appears to be.)
able to twist their necks and turn their heads up to 270°
without ever having to move their shoulders.
have three eyelids. The upper lid and lower lid function like
regular eyelids, but there is a third layer of tissue that moves
from the inside of the owl’s eye to the outside. This third
eyelid is designed for cleaning the eye.
appear in hieroglyphics found in Egypt, and they can be seen
depicted in 15,000 to 20,000 year old paintings on caves in
in the olden days were very superstitious about owl.
If an owl
hooted three times on the left side of a hunter, the hunter
would immediately stop what he was doing in order to avoid bad
Many people believed that the hoot of an owl was
responsible for illnesses like tonsillitis, and pregnant women
were afraid of birth complications if they heard the hoot of an
owl as they were giving birth.
Others believed that hearing an
owl hoot indicated that someone was about to die, and would
throw salt into a fire in order to prevent the 'bad luck' associated with owls.
Of course this can not be considered owl
facts today :-)
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