Owls are nocturnal creatures and seem to captivate attention with their big, curious eyes and their ubiquitous “hoot” sound. Famous for their wise appearance and their sharp intelligence, their intense stare is very hypnotizing. Kids especially take a wonderful liking to these creatures. Explore some true facts about an owl with your kids and share some of these trivia below to enhance their knowledge.
What Is an Owl?
Owls are enigmatic birds, mysterious, lovable, and spooky. There are over 200 species living on the continent except for Antarctica. They have super-tuned senses they can hunt their prey. Their outward appearance can be described as a large, broad head, binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons to hold their prey, and large feathers that are adapted for silent flight.
What Does an Owl Look Like?
Owls have large eyes, a flat face, and a big head. Their beaks are small, hooked, and face downwards. Owls have a rigid and upright stance. The owl has an excellent posture and is always standing upright with its head held high most of the time. The feathers of the owl tend to be tan, grey, white, and rufous. This helps them camouflage with tree trunks and branches.
What Do Owls Eat?
The diet of owls depends on the species of the owl. However, most owls like to eat insects, tiny mammals like (rabbits and hares) and other small birds. Owls also eat squirrels, rodents, bats, weasels, woodchucks, and even cats on odd occasions. The Asian and African fishing species of owls catch fish and eat them.
Other Fun Facts About Owls for Children
Now that you have learned all about owl physical traits, food habits, and appearance, there is some typical owl characteristics behavior that you could share with children. Below is a list of interesting trivia and fun facts about owls that you would have never known:
- Their distinctive, big eyes may seem like they have a strong vision. But in reality, they are farsighted. They struggle to see things closer to their vision.
- Owls live in different kinds of habitat ranging from forests, deserts, mountains to the prairies. They can be found everywhere on the continent except Antarctica.
- Owls rarely drink water. They hydrate themselves from the prey they feast on. It is a rare sight to see an owl drinking water, but you could catch them taking a bath.
- Owls cannot actually chew their food as they do not have teeth. They use their beak to tear their food apart and eat it.
- Female and male owls look very similar, and female owls are 25% larger in size.
- Although owls vary in size and appearance, there is one thing interestingly common in owls. They can turn their head to an astonishing 27 degrees! Their neck contains double the amount of vertebrae, unlike normal birds.
- Held in place and lengthened by sclerotic rings, which is a bony structure in the skull means that owls cannot move or roll their eyes.
- Owls are silent fliers. They do not make a sound because of their broad wings and special flying feathers that limit the noise when an owl flaps its wings.
- The biggest owl is the eagle owl which can eat animals as large as a deer.
- Most owls wake up as dusk falls.
- Owls don’t just “hoot.” They make different sounds too. They can screech, hiss and whistle.
- Owlets are born with an egg tooth that they use to crack open their egg.
- Owls have a heightened sense of hearing that they use to hunt.
- The poop of owls is mostly watery, with small portions being dark in color.
- Owls take over abandoned nests of other birds or just move into tree cavities, empty buildings, or underground tunnels.
- After eating, owls throw pellets. These are black or brown, containing small globs of fur, bones, and feathers. Pellets are not poop and do not smell.
- A group of owls is called a Parliament.
- The Elf owl is one of the smallest species of owls in the world.
- All owls can be broadly divided into two large groups- True owl or Barn owl.
- Barn owls are characterized by a heart-shaped face.
- Barn owls eat up to 1000 mice each year, making it beneficial for farmers.
- Owls are solitary creatures and prefer to stay alone.
- An owl lives for about 20 years.
- All eggs of an owl do not hatch at the same time.
- In Greek mythology, it is believed that if a Greek soldier spotted an owl fly during the battle, it was a sign of victory.
- Owls do not just hunt other creatures but could at times eat other owls. For example, the great horned owls can attack the barred owl.
- As harsh as it sounds, but owls tend to feed the oldest and the strongest owlet before their other siblings.
- Many cultures believed owls to be a sign of impending death. It is believed that the death of Julius Ceaser was predicted by an owl.
- Owls swallow their prey and barf up the carcass. They first crush it with their strong talons and, depending on the size, either eat it whole or rip it up. The owl’s digestive tract processes the body and the part that it does not digest like bones and furs and regurgitated into pellets.
- Owls and humans get along well. Although it is illegal to own owls as pets in the United States, Japan has owl cafes where you can hang out with owls with a cup of tea.
Owls are intriguing and fascinating creatures. Share and explore more about these birds with your children.