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16 Different Types of Owls In The World

Snowy Owl

Owls are yet another mesmerizing species of birds. These birds have always been considered as birds of omen and related to spooky and mysterious affairs. Owls inhabit almost all areas on the earth, except Antarctica. They have some striking features that make them distinct from other birds. They have super-tuned senses; they can turn their heads, almost all-around their neck. Owls are gifted with a gift of farsightedness as they have eye tubes going deep into their skill, instead of spherical balls like us. This makes them locate their prey from yards away. There are above 200 known species of owls, while at least 18 species for barn owls. Below we will read about the various owl types and what makes them unique.

Types of Owls

1.Great Horned Owl

One of the popular types of owls, The Great Horned Owl is also known as the Tiger Owl or the cat owl and is an American native. You have seen this typical owl in picture storybooks – scary yellow eyes, long ear-like feather tufts, and a deep hoot. This is the most adaptable bird in nature, present in a wide variety of habitats, like, deserts, forests, wetlands, grasslands, cities, and backyards. It is not surprising if you find it any other habitat between the Arctic and the tropics. These owls are fierce predators with deadly talons and can hunt anything from rats, frogs, scorpions, and even cats!

Also Read: Top 10 Amazing Desert Birds In The World

Great Horned Owl

Image Source: Wikimedia

2.Barn Owl

The Barn Owl is the most commonly occurring species of owl and also the most widespread one. They are shy birds and avoid human contact. They usually make their nests in abandoned sites like houses and barns, church steeples, and dry wells. They have excellent night vision and can find their prey at night even by detection by sound. They are medium-sized owls with faces that resemble a white heart. They have spotted a white chest and cinnamon feathers. They have a distinct flight style and hunt over grasslands and marshes. Barn owls screech and never known to hoot, like other owls.

Also Read: Top 10 Best Animals In The World

Barn Owl

3.Snowy Owl

The Snowy Owl or the Polar Owl is found in the Arctic and the tundra regions. They are fluffy, white birds, completely covered with feathers, even on their legs and beak. This is their adaptation to keep them insulated in the extreme cold of the Arctic region. They feed on a variety of prey, like, small rodents, lemmings, Arctic hare, and ducks. They have powerful wings that can open up to 5 feet when fully spread. While most owls are nocturnal birds, Snowy Owls are diurnal and can hunt during the day in the Arctic summers. It is one of the beautiful types of owls.

Also Read: A List of World’s Largest Eagles Based On Mass, Length And Wingspan

Snowy Owl

Image Source: Wikipedia

4.Long-eared Owl

Long-eared Owls are widespread in North America and are brownish-grey and of medium size. They have orange feathery facial disk with long ear-tufts. They have white and brown marks on their bodies that help them to blend into the background they live. These owls roost and nest in trees during the day and are nocturnal hunters. They have a characteristic deep hoot. For the male Long-eared Owl, the loud hoot can sometimes be heard up to 1 kilometre.

Also Read: Top 10 Tundra Animals In The World

Long-eared Owl

Image Source: Wikimedia

5.Speckled Owl

The Spectacled Owl gets its name from the contrasting ‘spectacles’ like feathers made up of white eyebrows and white streaks between its eyes and cheeks on its dark brown face. These large owls are native to the tropics and commonly found in the forests of Mexico, Trinidad, Central America, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. They hide in the foliage of trees so that the predators cannot easily detect them. Sometimes, larger birds prey upon them and are generally solitary birds.

Also Read: Top 10 Cutest Things In The World

Speckled Owl

Image Source: Wikimedia

6.Screech Owl

Screech Owls are typical owls, with currently 23 living species existing on this earth. The Eastern Screech-Owl is a short, stocky bird with a large head and almost no neck. These owls mostly inhabit south-central Texas and parts of northern Mexico. They have a short tail and rounded wings. Their raised pointed ear tufts are grey or mostly reddish-brown. You can easily identify these birds from their trilling or whinnying song.

Another variety of these owls is the Western Screech Owl, which mostly inhabits Western North America. It is a small, nocturnal Owl with yellow eyes short ear-tufts. They are nocturnal birds who can glide and fly noiselessly with soft wing beats. These owls are quiet birds but can become very aggressive when they defend their nests and even attack humans.

Also Read: Top 5 Most Popular Black Birds With Blue Head

Screech Owl

7.Eurasian Eagle Owl

These owls are among the world’s largest owls. They are inhabitants of Europe, Asia and North Africa. They are one of the most attractive owls with striking orange eyes and feathery ear tufts. They have sharp eyes and powerful feet that make them effective hunters. They can fly fast and glide in the air and soar in the sky like eagles and hawks. They are silent hunters, and when they flap their wings, no sound can be heard!

Eurasian Eagle Owl

Image Source: Wikimedia

8.Great Gray Owl

Remember Errol, the old owl in the Harry Potter series that served the Weasley family? It was a Great Gray Owl. These owls are the largest species of owl in the world and are adopted as the provincial emblem of Manitoba, Canada. It has the largest facial disc with no ear tufts. These owls have the longest tail and a grey-coloured face with yellow eyes. They have efficient hunting skills and can catch their prey even 2 feet below the snow. These birds are known as the Phantom of the North and even ‘bearded owl’ because of their white moustache below their bill.

Also Read: 10 Facts About Hummingbirds In The World

9.Northern Pygmy-Owl

The Northern Pygmy-Owl is a small size owl, not more than 18 cm in length. They are mostly found in open forests and wooded canyons. This little owl is an aggressive hunter and is often active in the day. They are solitary birds and hunts small birds. These birds can fly fast and low from one tree to the other and can then swoop up to perch on a higher branch.  Northern Pygmy Owls are quite fierce and will attack prey on animals much bigger than their own size.

Image Source: Wikimedia

10. Burrowing Owl

The Burrowing Owl is a small-sized, sand-coloured owl with long legs and bright yellow eyes. They dwell in North and South America and can be found in the open landscapes of fields, grasslands, deserts, or any other open dry area. They nest in burrows dug by prairie dogs. The Burrowing Owl has excellent vision and hearing for capturing prey, mainly hunt for rodents and insects.

Burrowing Owl

Image Source: Wikimedia

11.Oriental Bay Owl

Oriental Bay Owl scientifically known as Phodilus badius belongs to the family of barn owls known as Tytonidae. They are mostly seen in the regions of Northeast India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Southern China, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. The owl species love to thrive in the mangrove, foothill and deciduous woodlands. It is also known as a Bay owl who loves to feed on large insects, small mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs. Talking about the appearance, it is a small nocturnal bird that can grow upto 22 to 30 cm in length. It is short-winged and short-tailed.

Oriental Bay Owl

Image Source: Wikimedia

12.Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl is a nocturnal type of owls that comes up with great intelligence and there are many superstitions surrounding owls. It is scientifically known as Strix Alcoa and they are one of the most common heard owl sound known as ‘twit took. It used to feed on small mammals such as Wood Mice and Bank Voles. They have also seen feeding on rabbits, moles, small birds, beetles, earthworms, frogs and even fish. It loves to thrive in city parks, wooded urban and suburban gardens. They used to prepare nests in a variety of places but prefer tree cavities.

Tawny Owl

Image Source: Wikimedia

13.Northern Saw-Whet Owl

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is a small short-bodied type of owls that comes up with a rounded head and has no ear tufts. Talking about the appearance, they have a light brown face along with dark brown and white streaks. They come with a large owl which is yellow in colour and white eyebrows connect in a ‘Y’ over their beaks. They are mostly seen in southern Alaska eastward to Nova Scotia, southward to the northern United States, and further southward in mountains. It has been seen eating deer mice and also shrews, voles, young squirrels, small birds, and large insects. It is one of the most beautiful types of owls in the world.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Image Source: Wikimedia

14.Striped Owl

Striped Owl is a medium-sized owl species that comes with large ear tufts. Talking about the appearance, It has a brownish-white facial disk along with a black beak and coloured eyes. The upper part of the owl species comes up with black vermiculation and heavy stripes. It can grow upto 30-38 cm and wieght around 320-546 gms. The avarage lifespan of the species is 10-20 YRS in the wild.

Striped Owl

Image Source: Wikimedia

15.Tawny Fish-Owl

Tawny Fish-Owl is one of the types of owls that belong to the family known as typical owls (Strigidae). The species is native to southern Nepal to Bangladesh, Vietnam and China. The owl species was first described by Brian Houghton Hodgson in 1836 who described a yellow-footed fish owl from Nepal. Talking about the appearance, it comes up with wide yellow eyes and sideways-drooping ear tufts. It has brown plumage with black mottling unique in its range.

Tawny Fish-Owl

Image Source: Wikimedia

16.Spotted Wood-Owl

The Spotted Wood-Owl is a medium-size owl species that comes with a rounded head and no ear-tufts along with dark eyes. It can grow upto a length of 44-48cm and weighs approximately 1011g (male species). The nocturnal bird is active at dusk and they can be very vocal at this time. The owl species can be seen eating rats and mice, small birds and large insects. It is mostly seen in the regions of Southern Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Southern Vietnam and the Malay Peninsula, Central Sumatra, discontinuously to Java, Bawean Island off Northern Java, Palawan and Calamian Islands in the western Philippines.

Spotted Wood-Owl

These are some interesting types of owls found in different parts of the world. Owls have been considered symbols of omen since ancient times. They have been linked to death, evil and other superstitions. However, they are intelligent birds and have unique characteristics that are not present in other birds or animals. These are the different types of owls. Kindly share and do post your comments.

Written by Utsav Srinet

Utsav Singh is a Nature Lover and Blogger. He writes about facts and information related to Nature, Travel and World

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