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15 Wise Fun Facts About Owls

The first fun fact is that owls are super cool! Why not check out the others and see how much more knowledge you can fit into your brain!?

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Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  August 29th 2022

Owls are some of the coolest birds out there and humans have always been amazed and interested by them! They glide through the night’s sky and can hunt their prey with incredible skill! Why not have a look through these specially selected fifteen facts about owls and learn a bit more about them - we promise you won’t regret it!

1. A group of owls is called a Parliament

There are lots of silly and fun names for groups of animals - you get schools of fish, casts of crabs, pods of dolphins and gaggles of geese to name just a few - but none of them are quite as wise as a parliament of owls!

2. Owls can twist their heads 270 degrees!

That’s almost the whole way around! This means they can look out for their prey really easily! Bad luck for the little mice, but pretty useful for the owls! People used to think that they could turn their heads the whole way round, but clever people with clipboards found out that it’s only 270 degrees - phew!

3. The smallest owl in the world is the Elf Owl!

This little owl is only about 15cm tall and lives in North America! It’s so small that it can easily fit into the holes in trees which is where it spends the day time. The Elf Owl is also nocturnal, which means it only comes out at night!

4. Barn Owls swallow their prey whole!

Imagine that, eating a whole pizza in one big bite without chewing! The big difference is that Barn Owls usually just eat mice, which are much smaller than a big soggy pizza! Owls have amazing stomachs that crush all the bones and turn it into a little ball which they spit out!

5. Not all owls hoot!

A lot of them do make a hooting sound, but some make very strange noises! The Eastern Screeching Owl makes a sound like a horse! Imagine that, walking in the woods and it sounds like a horse is flying above you! Can you make a noise like a horse?

6. There are over 150 species of owl!

These amazing animals live all over the world, on every continent except Antarctica, where there aren’t any trees for them to sit in, and it’s also far too cold for them! There are owls that can survive in the Arctic though - their large round body and thick layers of feathers helps keep them warm!

7. Owls have three eyelids!

The first one is for blinking, the second one is for sleeping, and the third one is for making sure their eyes are clean and healthy. This is really important for owls because they need to use their eyes everyday for hunting! If you watch videos of owls blinking you can see for yourselves!

8. Owls are silent when they fly!

This is because they have special feathers that break up the wind so that when you’re on the ground you can’t hear them coming! This clever adaptation means that owls are some of the best hunters out there, bad luck for those poor mice!

9. Owls have amazing camouflage!

Because of how owls have evolved alongside and adapted to the environment, their feathers perfectly match the trees and bushes, which means many species of owl can hide in plain sight during the day when they’re asleep! Can you see the owl in the picture?

10. Owls have incredible hearing!

They have specially evolved ears which allow them to hear things underneath leaves and even in burrows! Some owls even have flat faces which focuses the sound toward their ears, a bit like a radar dish! This is part of the reason you so rarely see owls, because they hear a big animal like a human coming and fly off to hide!

11. In Ancient Greece, owls signified wisdom!

The Greek God Athena was represented by the symbol of an owl and people many thousands of years ago thought that owls were symbols and signs of good fortune! If Greek soldiers saw an owl when they were going into battle they all thought they would win the fight - which doesn’t make much sense when the Ancient Greeks used to fight each other all the time!

12. People have always liked owls!

There are cave paintings from 30,000 years ago with owls in them, which means that from earliest human history we have been interested in these beautiful birds!  They were shown along with horses, bison and other big and important animals to our early human ancestors - pretty cool right?

13. A Barn owl can eat up to 1,000 mice a year!

That’s a lot of mice by anyone’s standards! Barn Owls need a lot of energy to keep themselves going and also to feed their young, so they need to eat as much as possible! This often means that farmers like to have owls around so they keep the numbers of mice down that might damage their crops!

14. Owls are long-sighted!

This means they can see things far away really well, but not so well up close! Not so good for reading books! Which is probably why you don’t see owls in the library! It does mean that they are excellent at hunting from long distances, another adaptation which is good for the owls and not so good for the mice!

15. Owls have got really long legs!

It might not look like it, but owl legs are actually really long and are hidden by their feathers! They have such long legs so that they can catch their prey with them! Some owls like the Snowy Owl also have feathers that cover their long legs - this is one of the ways they stay warm even in the coldest of environments!