What does an owl look like?


Quick Answer

An owl has a large head, often topped with ear tufts or display feathers, and a flat face, called a facial disc. Because they are birds of prey, owls have sharp claws and beaks that curve downward, enabling them to effectively hunt, catch and eat their food.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

The owl's appearance is actually evolution's way of making the owl a top nocturnal predator. Its ears, located behind the eyes, give the owl acute hearing during the night when light is limited. They are set unevenly on the head, one higher than the other, so that the owl can easily distinguish from where the sound is coming. The owl's flat face, called the facial disc, helps to guide sound waves into its ears. The owl can even somewhat alter the shape of its face to increase sound reception.

The owl's beak points downward to prevent it from interfering with incoming sound waves. At the same time, the sharply curved beak allows the owl to catch and tear into the flesh of its prey. The sizes of owls differ from the great gray owl, which grows to over 2 feet tall, to the minuscule elf owl at 5 inches. Usually owls sport very short tail feathers.

Learn more about Owls

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What sound does an owl make?

    A: Owls make loud and soft hoots, screeches, rattling calls and quieter, two note calls. Some owls, such as the Sunda scops owl, give a whooping call.... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What eats a snowy owl?

    A: Two predators of the snowy owl are falcons and foxes, but the greatest danger is humans who may hunt the snowy owl for trophies or food, according to the U... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Is the owl an herbivore?

    A: The owl is not an herbivore. Owls are carnivores and hunt their prey, which consists mainly of insects, amphibians, reptiles, rodents and other small mamma... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is an owl pellet?

    A: An owl pellet is the regurgitation of undigested material after an owl has had a meal. By examining an owl pellet, ornithologists can find out about the di... Full Answer >
    Filed Under: