Owls Facts - Questions and Answers

What are owls?

Birds of prey from the order Strigiformes

How many owls are there in the world?
216 species worldwide
18 of the barn owl family (Tytonidae), 198 of the typical owl family (Strigidae)

What are the differences between barn owls and typical owls?
Barn owls have heart-shaped facial discs (the area surrounding the eyes, beak and face of an owl) and typical owls have round-shaped facial discs.

Where do Owls live?
Barn owls are found mostly in Australasia and typical owls are found on all continents except for Antarctica

What do Owls eat?
Barn owls feed on small mammals, and sometimes birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Typical owls feed on a wide range of small vertebrates and invertebrates.

How big are Owls?
Owls range in size all the way from the largest, the Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) which may reach a size of 60 – 71 cm (28.4 in) long, have a wingspan of almost 2 m (6.6 ft), and an average weight of nearly 4.5 kg (10 lb), down to the smallest owl -- the Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi), at as little as 31 g (1.1 oz) and 13.5 cm (5.3 inches). Some of the pygmy owls are scarcely larger.

How long do Owls take to mature?
That depends on the species!

When do Owls sleep?
Many sleep during the day, which means they are nocturnal. Others sleep at night, just like humans!

When do Owls hunt?
Some hunt during the daytime, and others hunt during the night

How do Owls hunt?
Owls have very keen senses of sight and hearing. They have specialized ears that can trace small vibrations from movement on the ground from small animals. Some owls have specialized feathers on their wings that allow them to fly without making a sound, so that they do not scare off their prey. Owls have very sharp claws on their feet that keep a tight grasp on their prey.

How do Owls reproduce?
Owls typically mate with one partner. Some owls mate with one partner per breeding season, depending on their migration patterns.