Owls are equipped with various physical characteristics that make them as skillful and vicious of a hunter as they are.
But still, we have to ask ourselves, what do they hunt? Is it live creatures, insects, mammals, amphibians, etc?
Or maybe they forage around for the occasional vegetarian option available on the list? So Today, we are going to take an in-depth look at the diets of some owls to illustrate the differences their habitats and habits have on their feeding behavior.
So Without further ado, let us dive right in!
Do Owls Eat Fruits, Vegetables, Or Plants?
Not if they can help it! Owls are led mainly by their carnivorous habits when it comes to hunting and feeding and thus prefer a diet that consists of meat, whether it be live prey or the occasional carrion.
Generally, this diet consists of rodents, amphibians, insects, small mammals, and even other birds.
The primary determinant when it comes to what an owl eats is the availability of prey, and since they have quite a big appetite they will eat fruit and other plant products if nothing else is available to them.
They are opportunistic feeders and will hunt all hours of the night for prey, but in the case that it is not available they will eat the occasional berry or nut.
Understanding Owls’ Diet
To better understand how an owl’s diet changes with the change in location and season, based on the availability of prey, let us look at some owl species with different habitats, and nesting and hunting patterns to see how this affects their diet!
What Do Burrowing Owls Eat?
Starting with the owls that nest in the lowest terrain, our first contender is the burrowing owl.
Burrowing owls are small, long-legged owls found throughout North and South America in habitats like agricultural fields, grasslands, rangelands, lowlands, or any other open landscape that is dry and has little vegetation.
Not only do they differ from the majority of owls in their habitat, but they are also diurnal birds, meaning that they are active during the day and rest during the night.
They have a highly variable diet that consists of a third of invertebrates and two-thirds of vertebrates. Their primary choice of diet is large insects and small mammals like rodents.
Thus they feed on larger bugs and beetles like crickets, scarab beetles, and even termites, as well as mammals like rabbits, hares, farm voles, etc.
Their habitats and nesting patterns are clearly reflected in their diet as most of these creatures spend their time on the ground, which is where the owls catch them.
What Do Barn Owls Eat?
Characterized by their unique appearance with their pale heart-shaped faces and sharp pointed beak, barn owls are one of the most widespread owls in the world, found everywhere except in Antarctica.
True to their name, they prefer resting in barns, or any outdoor rural huts, where they are able to cozy up. They prefer areas with open farmlands, and their diet clearly reflects this as well.
Barn owls mainly feed on a variety of creatures that are common in and around farming areas like farm voles, wood mice, earthworms, bats, and rabbits.
They also eat the occasional bird as well as insects, amphibians, and reptiles that frequent open agricultural fields.
What Do Eagle Owls Eat?
One of the largest owl species, they are characterized by their unique and striking appearance with their orange eyes and large ear tufts.
They are found in a variety of habitats but mainly reside in woodland areas like coniferous forests and steppes, and also in areas with a lot of shrubbery and vegetation.
You might also spot these majestic birds in rocky mountainous regions, as well as cliffs, though their plumage might blend them right into it.
These owls hunt for their prey by perching on high branches and keeping a keen watch for an unsuspecting victim to come by, before swooping down and capturing them.
They generally feed on a varied diet that consists of voles, hares, rabbits, and even baby deer!
They also love feeding on other birds like crows, grouse, ducks, and other seabirds. But these owls are also one of the species that will eat just about anything they can get their talons on.
Do Owls Eat Apples, Nuts, And Berries?
Owls mainly follow a carnivorous diet, feasting on live prey from small mammals like rabbits, hares, and voles, to insects, amphibians, reptiles, and even birds.
But owls generally are opportunistic feeders and have been seen to eat fruit when there is low availability of their usual choice of diet.
In many cases, burrowing owls especially have been noted to enjoy berries, nuts, apples, and acorns, when there was less prey for them to feed on.
Do Owls Eat Vegetables Or Other Plant Parts?
As rare as fruits are observed being a part of an owl’s diet, rarer still are vegetables. Owls generally prefer to eat meat prey like small mammals and other insects, reptiles, and amphibians.
They are opportunistic feeders that feed on the occasional plant part, though vegetables are not often on the top of the list. They usually eat fruits like winter berries or apples when they modify their diet temporarily.
So that was all about the vast and varied diet of owls and how they shift and change on the basis of where they live and how they hunt.
We hope you enjoyed this venture into the wonderful world of owls, and that you learned something new!
Thank you for reading!
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