Owls are nocturnal and hunt by night, unlike most other hunting birds.
There are two big families of owl — barn owls and typical owls.
There are 135 species of typical owl, including the great horned owl.
There are about 10 species of barn owl. The common barn owl is the most widespread — found on every continent except Antarctica.
Small owls eat mostly insects. Bigger owls eat mice and shrews. Eagle owls can catch young deer.
In the country, the tawny owl’s diet is 90% small mammals, but many now live in towns where they eat mainly small birds such as sparrows and starlings.
Owls have huge eyes that allow them to see in almost pitch darkness.
An owl’s hearing is four times as sharp as a cat’s.
Owls can pinpoint sounds with astonishing accuracy from the slight difference in the sound levels it receives in each of its ears.
Most bird’s eyes look out to the sides, but an owl’s look straight forward like a human’s. This is probably why the owl has been a symbol of wisdom since ancient times.
The flight feathers on an owl’s wing muffle the sound of the bird’s wing beat so that it can swoop almost silently down on to its prey.
Most owls roost by day in holes inside tree trunks. There are few trees in the desert where the elf owl lives, so it roosts inside a giant saguaro cactus. Elf owls live in the dry regions of southwest North America.