Like all birds of prey, owls are carnivores. Most live by hunting small mammals such as hares, rats and mice, but they are also known to catch and eat other birds. Very small owls, such as the elf owl, feed mostly on insects.
There are around 200 species of owls worldwide. Most are nocturnal animals and are well-adapted for hunting at night. Unlike most birds, owls have forward-facing eyes, giving them improved depth perception, which is useful for hunting in dim light. They also have specialized wing feathers with soft, serrated edges that muffle the sound of their wingbeats, allowing for nearly silent flight.