Enchanted Learning Owls
Owls are nocturnal hunting birds with eyes that face forwards. They
are closely related to hawks. Owls sleep during the day and emerge at night to
hunt small prey.
There are about 162 different species of owls alive
today, inhabiting a huge variety of ecological niches, from rainforests
Owls have a large head and large eyes that face forwards (unlike other
birds, whose eyes are on the sides of their head). This eye placement gives them
binocular vision and very precise depth perception. Also, there are circles of
radiating feathers surrounding each eye, giving them a wide-eyed, alert look.
Owls cannot move their eyes within their sockets like we can. In order
to look around, they have to move their entire head, which has a range of
movement of about 270°.
Some owls have feathered ear tufts; these are
not ears, but are part of the owl's camouflage.
Many owls have thick feathers that absorb the sounds
that their wings make in flight.
Owls are carnivores that hunt during the night (they are nocturnal).
They use their keen sense of sight to find prey in the dark (owls see mostly in
black and white). They have an acute sense of hearing which also helps in
finding meals. Owls are stealth hunters, they can easily sneak up on their prey
since their fluffy feathers give them almost silent flight.
two methods of hunting
- Perch and pounce - the owl waits on a low tree branch until it spots prey.
It then swoops down onto the prey. This method is used often by owls that live
in relatively dense forested areas.
- Quartering - the owl flies low over the ground looking for prey. This
methods is used often by owls that live in relatively clear landscapes.
Owls hunt and eat rodents, insects, frogs, and birds. The owl is
at the top of the food web; it has no major predators.
Owls eat smaller
prey whole and larger prey in chunks. They eliminate the inedible parts (like
hair, feathers, insect exoskeletons, and bone) in oval-shaped pellets.
Habitat and Range
Owls are found
worldwide in a huge range of habitats from rainforests to grasslands to wooded
areas to tundra.
- Kingdom Animalia (the animals)
- Phylum Chordata
- Subphylum Vertebrata (animals with backbones)
- Class Aves (Birds)
- Order Strigiformes (owls)
- Family Tytonidae (barn and bay owls) and Strigidae (other owls)
Owls Quizzes and Printouts
Owls are nocturnal
hunters with eyes that face forwards.
A white owl that
lives in the North American tundra.
hunter from the Pacific coast of North America.
A cute owl made from three paper
Web Links about Owls
The Owl Pages
Owl cam - see Northern Barred Owls on the web
Spectacled Owls from
the Sedgwick County Zoo.