18 Different Types of Owls

Different Types of Owls
Photo by Zdeněk Macháček

Owls are unique and intriguing birds that are uncommon members of the animal kingdom because of their abundance of feathers and lovely round or heart-shaped faces.

The article goes into great length about the different types of Owls, discussing each bird’s peculiarities. Though numerous traditions and superstitions surround Owls, their incredibly expressive faces and exceptional talents make them a source of fascination.

The distinct qualities of each owl will help you enjoy them more fully. Except for the Antarctic, these birds live in every location.

Owls’ primary diet consists of other birds, insects, and small animals. Some Owls have mastered the art of fish hunting, among other things.

Different Types of Owls

The list we have provided will provide you with information on 18 distinct varieties of Owls and their characteristics.

1. Boreal owl

The Boreal owl (Aegoliusfunereus) stays in the northern United States, Canada, Alaska, and Europe and is also known as Tengmalm’s owl in some areas.

The white dots over the crown of this bird are noticeable, even though this genuine owl is mostly brown. They live in subalpine and boreal woodlands and build their nests in cavities. As little nocturnal hunters, they hunt small mammals, birds, and insects from perches.

2. Spotted Wood-Owl

The second owl on our list of different types of owls is the huge, orange-faced spotted wood-owl (Strixseloputo) is a genuine owl found in numerous distinct regions throughout Southeast Asia.

It prefers habitats near water, open woods, or woodland habitats. Because of its striped coloring, this owl can hide in dark canopies. This ear-less bird hunts primarily on small rodents from a perch.

3. Western Screech-Owl

The western screech owl (Otus kennicottii) is a kind of owl related to the Eastern screech owl that lives in western North America and Central America.

These owls reside in cavities made and abandoned by woodpeckers, commonly found on the fringes of woodland or open forests.

These nocturnal hunters effectively disguise themselves in their forest home due to their mellow earth tone coloring.

4. Tawny Fish-Owl

Tawny fish owls (Ketupaflavipes) are prevalent in China and Southeast Asia and are distinguished by their drooping ear tufts and spreading yellow eyes. As the name implies, this owl feeds on fish and other aquatic species. As a result, these birds are constantly near lakes, rivers, and streams, inhabiting environments ranging from subtropical to temperate woodlands.

5. Striped Owl

The striped owl (Asioclamator) features unusual ear tufts as well as black, white, and cinnamon-colored streaks. This true owl is exclusively found in Central and South America and has a range that includes forests, savannas, and marshlands. To avoid discovery, these huge owls perch in dense tropical foliage.

6. Northern Saw-whet Owls

The saw-whet owl (Aegoliusacadicus) is one of the smallest owls on our list of different types of owls, standing seven to eight inches tall. The call of these owls resembles the sharpening of a saw on a whetstone, hence the name.

Because of their small size and nocturnal lifestyle, these owls are commonly heard but rarely seen. Northern saw-whet owls live in woodlands and feed on small mammals.

7. Burrowing Owl

As the name implies, the burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) lives in a burrow, contrasting with other tree-living owls. Instead, these owls take home in ancient squirrel or prairie dog tunnels. While hunting at night, the burrowing owl uses its long legs to run and seize prey.

They live in broad fields and grasslands throughout Central and South America and North America, from southern Canada to Mexico. Those in tropical areas live year-round, while those in the northern half move during the winter.

8. Great Horned Owl

We cannot exclude the great horned owl when exploring different types of owls (Bubo virginianus), one of the most common and adaptable owls in the Americas.

These horned owls eat a wide variety of prey, including birds, owls, mammals, snakes, and formidable predators.

The married pairs protect their nesting place with loud and energetic hooting, emphasizing the importance of this genuine owl’s characteristic hoot.

9. Northern Pygmy Owl

Because it is an energetic and aggressive day hunter, the northern pygmy-owl (Glaucidium gnoma) is an owl that attacks animals larger than itself.

These six-inch-tall territorial owls are endemic to western Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America.

With the set of artificial eyes on the back of its skull, which the owl shares with ocelli, another raptor, these owls may fool prey and prevent assault by mobbing other birds.

10. Great Gray Owl

The great gray owl (Strixnebulosa) lives in Europe, Asia, and North America. These owls enjoy places devoid of human contact. The gray owl has fluffy feathers that make it appear even larger, and it is one of the tallest owls, standing between 24 and 33 inches tall. This real owl has gray stripes around its two golden eyes and may be distinguished by its facial disk.

11. Tawny Owl

The tawny owl (Strixaluco) is an owl that lives in eastern China, a Palearctic area south of the Iberian peninsula. It is the most seen owl in England, found in various settings, including woodlands, gardens, and cemeteries.

In addition, Tawny owls hunt between twilight and morning for prey, which includes rodents, birds, insects, and amphibians. Because these owls are territorial nonmigratory birds, they assault to defend their nests and broods by producing loud shrieking noises.

12. Eurasian Eagle Owl

The Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) is one of the biggest owl species on our list of different types of owls, with a wingspan of 5 to 6 1/2 feet.

Because they are strong predators, they eat anything from tiny mammals to snakes, other reptiles, and larger prey such as owls, similar-sized birds, and foxes.

These true owls live in various environments throughout Europe and Asia, including forests, deserts, and mountains.

The couples of Eurasian eagle-owls marry for life and nest in rock crevices and cave openings. When food is plentiful, breeding rises, and when food is limited, breeding drops.

13. Snowy Owl

A Snowy owl, scientifically known as Bubo Scandiacus, is a large species of white owl in the Strigidae family. The male bird has stunning white plumage that helps it blend in with its Arctic surroundings and is also known as the Great White Owl.

Females have a darker skin tone than males. These birds have the second greatest wingspan and are also the heaviest.

Snowy owls consume white rabbits, rodents, birds, and fish, but their preferred diet is lemmings. This owl’s typical body length is 20-28 inches, and its wingspan is 50.4-57.6 inches.

14. The Eastern Screech-Owl

Our list of different types of owls is incomplete without mentioning the Eastern screech-owl (Otus asio), a kind of North American owl that is most active at night and grows six to nine inches tall.

Because of their remarkable camouflage talents, these owls find the exact matched tree hollow to rest in. Eastern screech-owls are nocturnal predators that feed on birds, small animals, insects, frogs, lizards, and tadpoles.

Though their name is deceiving, this small and stocky species may be found from Canada to Mexico in eastern North America. This owl does not shriek and instead emits a descending tremolo call.

15. Oriental Bay Owl

The Oriental bay owl (Phodilus badius) is a nocturnal owl widespread across Southeast Asia. These owls enjoy deep, evergreen woods near bodies of water as their preferred habitat.

The oriental bay owl is a bay owl and a subspecies of the barn owl. Oriental bay owls are more miniature than barn owls but have a similar look.

To hunt, it perches on tree branches, hidden from view, while to roost and nest, it uses holes in trees and trunks.

16. Speckled Owl

The spectacled owl (Pulsatrixperspicillata) cannot be left out when discussing different types of owls. It lives in South America, southern Mexico, and Central America and prefers to live in deep, old-growth rainforests.

However, These owls hunt on fast-moving, nonmigratory small animals that are active at night. This owl can readily conceal itself in tropical vegetation, shielding itself from predators. They get their name from the white marks surrounding their golden eyes, which resemble eyeglasses.

17. Long-Eared Owl

The long-eared owl (Asio Otus) is widespread in North America, Europe, and Asia, and it takes up residence in the abandoned nests of similarly sized birds.

These medium-sized owls eat small animals found in open terrain regions. After a courtship that includes aerial displays and male cries, most long-eared owls establish monogamous couples.

18. Barn Owl

Lastly on our list of different types of owls is the (Tyto alba) a kind of barn owl found on every continent except Antarctica, with a heart-shaped face. The barn owl is the most common owl species, hunting over open terrain at night.

When nesting, barn owls catch more rats, voles, mice, and other creatures to feed their young. Because of their excellent hearing and downy feathers that mask their approach, these owls may effectively take their prey unseen.

Interesting Facts About Different Types of Owls

  • There are around 200 species of owls worldwide. Nineteen are found in the United States and Canada, while the remaining are residents of Asia.
  • Many owls’ locations are asymmetrical and on varying heights of their heads—this aids in the area of various sounds and their comprehension.
  • Owls reside in a variety of settings, except Antarctica.
  • Because owls lack eyeballs, their eyes are formed like a tube, preventing them from moving in their sockets.
  • Owls can detect the distance of their prey and swoop it by focusing their binocular eyesight. They are farsighted, though, since their near eyesight is poor.
  • Owls can rotate 270 degrees and move their necks 135 degrees on either side.
  • Owls have three eyelids: one for sleeping, one for blinking, and one for keeping the cleanliness of their eyes.
  • Owls are Carnivores
  • Owls have zygodactyl feet, with two toes facing forward and two pointing back.
  • Owls’ tremendous grab and grip are due to their sharp, hooked claws, often known as talons.
  • Female owls are heavier, bigger, and more aggressive than males. Females have a higher voice and are more colorful.
  • Owls are quiet flyers due to their large wings and light body.
  • Owls may blend in with their surroundings by using the hues of their feathers.

We hope the information presented in this post on the different types of owls piqued your curiosity and taught you something new about these intriguing birds.

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