How do owls hunt at night?« Back to Questions List

Silent hunters like owls and bats are well known nocturnal birds. There are 205 species of owls. While most of them are nocturnal, there are diurnal (active during day) ones too. The birds roost during the daytime, often in tree holes. They are animal eaters and their food consists of small mammals like mice, squirrel and rabbits and insects too. The structure of owls’ foot with two forward facing toes and two backward facing toes enables them to have a good grasp of their prey with much ease.


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Owl’s big eyes allow for a three dimensional vision. This is important in judging the distance and size of a moving target. Unlike our eyes, the eyes of owls are fixed in their sockets. Hence they are immovable. But they are so good at catching preys because they can turn their heads upside down. This enables owls to spot preys even though they have a narrow field of vision.

On very dark nights, they rely on their hearing senses to catch their prey. Their ears are hidden among feathers behind their eyes. Many species have special flight feathers adapted for silent flight. Flight feathers are fringed, which wraps up the noise of air passing through.

A group of owls is called a parliament of owls. All species of owls are classified into two basic groups – barn owls and true owls. Barn owls are medium sized birds while true owls range from tiny owls to bulky birds. Face of a barn owl is heart-shaped and true owls have a round facial disk.


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