Are There Owls With Red Eyes: Explained In Detail

Owls With Red Eyes

Owls are one of the most popular nocturnal animals found in nature. The whole world can see any one species of owl in that particular habitat. 

Each species differs from the other by its physical appearance, behaviour, and other habits but here we are mainly going to focus on the eyes. 

Two of the most known species of owl with red eyes are the stygian owl and albino screech owl. 

The stygian owl or scientifically known as Asio stygius belongs to the family Strigidae which are found around Mexico, Cuba, and other places as well. 

On the other hand, the Albino screech owl belongs to the family Strigidae too and is found in the eastern part of America, New Jersey and New York. 

In this article, I’ve explained all about the red eyes of owls if they are real or fake, their habitat, what other species of owls have red eyes, and symbolism. 

So let’s dive into it

Owls With Red Eyes: 

Two Species of owls have red eyes, they are: 

Stygian owl

  • Scientific name: Asio stygius
  • Size: 38-46 cm long 
  • Weight: 400-675gm
  • Appearance: Both males and females have similar appearances with long ears and dark plumage. The face feathers are black with a pale border and a white forehead, and the long feathers on the head depict ears. 
  • Habitat: It is a forest owl, from the mountains. They are found in eastern and southern Mexico, central and southern America, in the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, and many other places. 
  • Diet: These nocturnal animals mainly feed on bats, birds such as doves, small birds as well as small mammals and insects.
  • Voice: Deep ‘whouf’ sound most of the time and other sounds include miah, wak wak , cheet. 
  • Eye colour: Eyes are yellow or orangish-yellow in colour but if any light reflection happens in their eyes, the colour appears to be red. Certainly, if sunlight or any other light source falls on them, their eyes appear to be red coloured.

Albino screech owl

  • Scientific name: Strix acio
  • Size: Small-sized owl like the size of a songbird. 16-25 cm in length.
  • Weight: 121-244gm
  • Appearance: Fully covered with white feathers, plumage and red eyes. 
  • Habitat: They can reside on any tree of the forest, may it be evergreen, deciduous, urban or rural, but always near water. 
  • Diet: Small animals like birds, mammals, earthworms, insects, frogs, and lizards. 
  • Voice: Mainly soft and low hoots. But can also make loud, sharp screeches to indicate alarm or agitation. 
  • Eye colour: Red eyes
  • Predators: They’re prey to other large owls like snowy owls, great grey owls, other birds like crows, ravens and mammals like racoons, and skunks. 

White owls with Red eyes, real or fake?

Yes, they are absolutely real! In recent times, an owl was seen with white feathers and bright red eyes which piqued the interest of people and some thought it to be a snow owl. 

But it is actually an albino version of screech owl which is a very rare species.

Albinism is a rare genetic disorder of any living species where they lack melanin pigment to produce any body colour and that’s the reason behind the white colour of an albino screech owl. 

The red eyes appear because of the presence of blood vessels and a lack of melanin in the iris of the eyes, making them colourless. The general screech owls have yellow eyes. 

What is a Black owl with red eyes?

Black owl can be referred to as any species of owl that has black or dark coloured feathers on them. 

These features can be found in stygian owls and they have yellow to orangish eyes that can be viewed as red due to a light reflection. 

This is the pure scientific explanation behind the red eyes without any touch of mythology. 

Why do owls have red eyes?

Owls can have red eyes based on two factors: 

  1. They can have dark-coloured eyeballs that can appear red at night due to the reflection of light rays. 
  2. Due to albinism, which makes them lack melanin pigment in the eyes. The eyes appear bright red all the time due to the red blood vessels. 

Do Barred owls have red eyes?

No, the barred owls do not have red eyes. This species of owl has mottled brown, white feathers on its body and dark brown or almost black coloured eyes. 

Where do Owls with Red Eyes live?

The owls with red eyes or any species live in the trees near evergreen, deciduous, urban or rural locations.

This can be on any type of landscape be it sea level or mountains and reside on well-grown trees like pine, cedar, etc. 

Do Owls have Red Eyes at Night?

Owls are nocturnal birds that can have different colours of eyes but at night, if any kind of light reflection happens in the eyes they can appear red in colour. 

But this phenomenon doesn’t happen to all, those who have brown or black eyes don’t appear red even after reflection. 

Owl with Red eyes Symbolism?

Owls with red eyes can be symbolised as rare species and should be taken care of. The albino screech owls are very rare and can’t be seen at all without exceptions, as the albinism phenomenon is rare. 

Some people tend to attach ideas like the devil, and mythology behind these phenomena but these are totally baseless since science can provide actual facts. 

What Other colours do owls’ eyes have?

Owls can have different colours of eyes based on the time of the day they are active the most. The colours can be of: 

  • Yellow eyes: Owls with yellow-coloured eyes are mostly diurnal, and active during the daytime. Example- The great grey owl. 
  • Orange eyes: Orange-coloured eyes owls are crepuscular, which means they are active during dusk and dawn. Example- Eurasian eagle owl. 
  • Dark brown or black eyes: The owls with dark brown or black eyes are typically nocturnal, which means they are active during the night. This eye colour also helps them to camouflage more than the bright colours, which makes them easy to catch prey. Example: Northern spotted owl, Barred owl. 


Different species of owls can have different-coloured eyes, which have different functions. The red colour of the eyes can be either due to reflection or albinism. 

I hope this article has helped you in some way.

Thanks for reading! 

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