15 Fascinating Owl Facts You Didn’t Know

Owl Facts

When you think of a nocturnal bird, then the first bird that comes to our mind is an owl. The owl is one of the most intelligent birds.

We know that they used to roost and make hoo hoo sounds. But do you know these facts are incomplete? Yes, there are many unknown facts about owls. Many things make this bird different from other birds. 

And In this article, we have mentioned 15 fascinating facts about owls that are unknown to many people. Let’s get started. 

All owls are not nocturnal

Most of us know that owls are nocturnal but not all owls are nocturnal. This fact is unknown to most people. Some owls are either crespecular or diurnal.

This means that these owls are dawn and dusk. Examples of diurnal owls include the northern hawk owl, the great grey owl, and the northern pygmy owl. 

Owls poop through their mouth

Owls can poop in two ways. They threw half of their waste from the back end while the other half is coughed out of their mouth. The regular owl poop is feces and white uric acid. This is excreted through the cloaca. 

In the digestive process of the owls, round brown pellets are coughed up 6 to 10 hours after consuming a meal.

However, before producing a pellet owls expresses pained expression, close their eyes & narrow their facial disk. They extend their neck forward, then they vomit the pellet out.

Owls are smart

Owls are considered extremely intelligent and wise birds but they are difficult to train. They have great vision and are considered highly intelligent birds at night.

They express their hunting skills at night with intelligence. They are good at everything but it can be difficult for any other bird. 

Owls can rotate their head at 270 degree

It is a myth that owls can turn their head around 360 degrees. However, it is not true. This constitutes the fact that owls can rotate their heads up to 270 degrees.

These birds can turn their neck 135 degrees in either direction which gives them a total movement of 270 degrees.

Apart from this the eyes of these birds are supported by bony eye sockets. This means that they cannot turn their eyes. 

Owls fly silently

You will not hear any sound when an owl flies. Owls have barbules on the parts of the contour feathers closest to the skin while they have few down feathers.

They have edges that are comb-liked and are referred to as flutings or fimbriae.

When an owl flies, its feather edges break down the turbulence and it gracefully glides through the air. This makes them fast and they can fly as fast as 40 miles per hour. 

Owls can eat another owl

It is a fact that owls are prey birds and they can even eat other species of owl. Great Horned Owls can attack Barred Owls for their food.

Even the Western Screech-Owls get also preyed on by other species of owls. But not every species of owl are known to eat other owls.

These birds are carnivorous and eat small or medium-sized mammals, fishes, insects, birds, and rodents. Therefore, different types of owls have different diets.

The strongest babies are first fed by owls

It is also a harsh fact that the strongest owl babies are fed by the owl parent first. If the food is scarce, then the youngest chicks are going to starve.

Even the weakest kids are sometimes killed by the strongest ones. This approach is brutal but it ensures that with the available food, some offspring will always survive. 

Asymmetrical ears are common to many owl species

Owls do indeed have ears and it is asymmetrical and are of different heights and sizes on their head. One of the ears of the owl is located in the skull.

This helps them to detect the location of the prey. Owls can pinpoint the location of the sounds in multiple directions due to the uneven alignment of the ear in the skull. 

Every owl doesn’t hoot

It is not true that every owl hoots. Owls can make a wide range of sounds which includes chirps, shrieks, barks, hisses, rattles, and whistles. The sound of “hoo hoo” is made by the Great Horned Owl only.

The Barn Owls species make hissing sounds and the Eastern Screech-owl makes a sound like a horse. The hooting sound we all hear usually are the territorial calls that serve as a warning to other owls. 

Owls have eye tubes

Owls don’t have round eyeballs. They are shaped like a long tubes and they can’t move around the same way as humans do.

It makes up to 3% of the entire body weight and as compared to humans, it is only 0.0003% of human body weight. These eye tubes are places between bones that are called sclerotic rings. 

Owls aren’t good nest builders

Owls are not excellent at nest building. They don’t build their own homes and they usually move into the nesting boxes or empty nests and own them.

They can even nest in holes which are also called hallows or cavities in trees. However, the male owls only find the territory while the female owls choose the nesting areas.

Female owls are bigger than male owls

It is a fact that female owls are heavier and larger than the male species. They are even more aggressive than males. Males are usually 20 to 24 inches in length and they weigh 6.5 to 7.8 pounds. 

While the female owls measure 28 inches long and weigh 7.2 pounds.

However, when it comes to males Barred Owls are usually 16 to 20 inches long and they have a wingspan of 39 to 44 inches. On the other hand, the female Barred Owls are 33% heavier than the male in body mass. 

Owl has three eyelids

The eye of the owl is more complex than any other bird. Apart from the eye tube, owls have three eyelids.

Every eyelid of an owl has different purposes including blinking, sleeping, and keeping the eye clean and healthy. The third eyelid is called the nictitating membrane.

This membrane is a thin layer of tissues and it closes diagonally across the eye. It helps the eye to make it clean after dirt or dust. 

Owls cannot see closer objects

Owls cannot see objects that are close to their eyes. This means that owls are farsighted. They see everything blurry that is close to their eyes.

However, they can see in the dark time but the vision works only if the object is far away. They can spot their prey from miles sitting at the top of a tall tree. 

Owls have Zygodactyl feet 

This bird has zygodactyl feet which means that they have two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backward. Owls can pivot their back toes forward to get a grip and walk.

Their toes have sharp talons. They use these talons to capture their prey. Their legs are shorter and stronger than the other birds of the same bone size. 


Owls are the birds that are known for preying on their hunt at the night. However, many facts are fascinating. With this article, we have covered all the facts. 

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