What is an owl?
A: Owls are birds from the order Strigiformes, which includes over 200 species of mostly solitary and nocturnal birds of prey.
They are typified by an upright stance, a large, broad
head, binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons, and feathers adapted
A: Silent flight.
Exceptions include what?
A: The diurnal northern hawk-owl and the gregarious burrowing owl.
Owls hunt mostly what?
A: Small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish.
They are found in all regions of the Earth except where?
A: The polar ice caps and some remote islands.
Owls are divided into what two families?
A: The true (or typical) owl family, Strigidae, and the barn-owl family, Tytonidae.
What is a group of owls called?
A: A "parliament".
Owls possess large, forward-facing what?
A: Eyes and earholes.
What are owl’s beaks like?
They have a flat face, and usually a conspicuous circle
of feathers, a facial disc, around what?
A: Each eye.
The feathers making up this disc can be adjusted to
sharply focus sounds from varying distances onto what?
A: The owls' asymmetrically placed ear cavities.
Most birds of prey have eyes on the sides of their
heads, but the stereoscopic nature of the owl's forward-facing eyes permits
A: A greater sense of depth perception necessary for low-light hunting.
Although owls have binocular vision, their large eyes
A: Fixed in their sockets—as are those of most other birds—so they must turn their entire heads to change views.
As owls are farsighted, they are unable to clearly see
A: Anything within a few centimeters of their eyes.
Caught prey can be felt by owls with the use of
filoplumes—hairlike feathers on what?
A: The beak and feet that act as "feelers".
Their far vision, particularly in low light, is what?
A: Exceptionally good.
Owls can rotate their heads and necks as much as what?
Owls have 14 neck vertebrae compared to how many in
A: Seven, which makes their necks more flexible.
They also have adaptations to their circulatory
systems, permitting rotation without what?
A: Cutting off blood to the brain.
What is the smallest owl—weighing as little as 31 g
(1+3⁄32 oz) and measuring some 13.5 cm (5+1⁄4 in)?
A: The elf owl (Micrathene whitneyi).
The largest owls are what two similarly sized eagle
A: The Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) and Blakiston's fish owl (Bubo blakistoni).
The largest females of these species are what size?
A: 71 cm (28 in) long, have a 190 cm (75 in) wingspan, and weigh 4.2 kg (9+1⁄4 lb).
Different species of owls produce different what?
A: Sounds; this distribution of calls aids owls in finding mates or announcing their presence to potential competitors, and also aids ornithologists and birders in locating these birds and distinguishing species.
Owl plumage is generally cryptic, although several
species have what?
A: Facial and head markings, including face masks, ear tufts, and brightly colored irises.
Most owls share an innate ability to fly almost how?
A: Silently and also more slowly in comparison to other birds of prey.