How Many Types of Owls Are There?

How Many Types of Owls Are There
Photo by James Lee

You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered How many types of owls are there. With over 200 species of owls worldwide, it can be hard to track them all.

There is an impressive variety of species and subspecies of owls, each with its own unique characteristics. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of owls and the many species of each one.

So, if you’re curious about how many kinds of owls are out there, keep reading to find out!”.

We will look at the different types of owls, their physical characteristics, and their unique behaviors. 

How Many Species of Owls Are There?

How many types of owls are there? It may come as a surprise, but over 200 different types of owls are found worldwide.

While most of us know the classic image of a Barn Owl, there are many kinds of owls with unique characteristics and sizes.

Some of these owl species have multiple subspecies, which further distinguishes them from other owl species. 

The owl family is divided into two main groups: typical and barn owls. Typical owls belong to the Strigidae family, while barn owls belong to the Tytonidae family.

The Strigidae family contains around 140 species, while the Tytonidae family has about 20 species. 

The remaining owl species make up other families, such as the Aegolius, Bubo, and Surnia.

On average, owls have a lifespan of about 15 to 20 years in the wild, but some can live even longer depending on their habitat and diet.

The most significant type of owl is the Great Grey Owl which can reach lengths up to 33 inches, while the minor kind of owl is the Elf Owl which typically measures only 5 to 6 inches. 

The Different Subspecies of Owls

How many types of owls could be living in our area? There could be several different species depending on where you live.

Here in North America alone, there are 19 species, including Barn Owls, Great Horned Owls, Burrowing Owls, Barred Owls, Short-eared Owls, Eastern Screech Owls, Northern Saw-whet Owls, and Long-eared Owls. 

Even within each species, there can be subspecies that vary slightly in appearance and range.

For example, within the Great Horned Owl species, 10 subspecies inhabit different regions throughout North America!

With so much variation among these birds, you can never really know which type of owl you may encounter on any given day.   

How many types of owls are there? Believe it or not, there are over 200 species of owls worldwide, classified into two families—Strigidae (typical owls) and Tytonidae (barn owls).

The typical owls range in size from the tiniest elf owl, which can be only 6 cm tall, to the Eurasian Eagle-owl, with a wingspan of up to 6 feet. 

These owls generally have large heads, piercing eyes, and distinctive facial discs that direct sound toward their ears.

On the other hand, barn owls have heart-shaped facial discs that lack ear tufts.

Some of the most well-known species include the Snowy Owl, the Great Horned Owl, the Barn Owl, and the Burrowing Owl.


When it comes to owls, there is a surprising amount of variety in how they look and act.

Depending on how many types of owls there are, their size, coloring, and facial features can differ significantly.

For example, the smallest owl is the Elf Owl, which only reaches about 6 inches tall and weighs about 2 ounces. 

On the other end of the spectrum, the Eurasian Eagle Owl is one of the largest owl species, with an impressive wingspan of up to 6 feet!

In addition to size differences, owls have unique feather patterns and markings, ranging from dark browns to bright yellows and oranges. 

They have large eyes, typically yellow or brown, and a round facial disc that helps them focus sound when hunting.

Owls also have powerful talons and beaks, which they use to grasp and tear apart their prey.


The lifespan of owls varies greatly depending on the species. Most owls live for around 10 years, but some can live up to 25 years.

How many types of owls are there? There are currently more than 200 owls worldwide, so it is impossible to say precisely how long each kind can live. 

However, the average lifespan for most owls is between 8 and 10 years. Owls in more hostile environments tend to have shorter lifespans, while those in more protected areas may live longer.

Largest Owl

The Eurasian eagle-owl is the largest owl species in the world, with a wingspan of up to 6 feet and a body length of up to 28 inches.

The bird is found throughout Europe, North Africa, and Asia. They inhabit grassland, shrubland, deserts, and woodland habitats. 

With their powerful talons and large size, the Eurasian eagle owl is an impressive and intimidating sight.

It is also one of the most recognized owls due to its size and striking color.

While many types of owls are found worldwide, the Eurasian eagle owl is one of the most extensive and impressive.


Owls are highly adaptable and can be found living in a variety of habitats around the world.

Depending on the species, they may live in forests, grasslands, deserts, wetlands, agricultural areas, and even urban settings.

The number of different habitats is one of the factors contributing to how many types of owls there are. 

Some species prefer to live in trees, others in dense undergrowth, and some may even inhabit caves. Owls may also live on all seven continents except for Antarctica.

Prettiest Owls

When it comes to choosing the prettiest owl, there is no definitive answer.

There are many types of owls, each with its unique physical characteristics. Regarding looks, some of the prettiest owls include the Snowy Owl and the Tawny Owl. 

These owls feature lovely white feathers and light brown spots, respectively.

They are found in wide open spaces like tundra, meadows, or prairies and hunt small mammals, reptiles, and insects.

The Barn Owl, for example, is one of the most recognizable owls with its distinctive heart-shaped face. 

They are also known for their distinct screeching call. The Long-eared Owl is another type of owl with a stunning appearance. With its long ear tufts, this owl is striking and beautiful. 

Other owl species, such as the Burrowing Owl, Snowy Owl, and Northern Hawk Owl, also have attractive features that make them desirable to observe.

How many types of owls are there to choose from when deciding on the prettiest one?

The answer varies depending on individual preferences, but with over 200 species worldwide; you can be sure that any owl you encounter will be unique.     


There is no definitive answer to the question of how many types of owls are there.

While there are over 200 species that have been classified and recognized, more species may be waiting to be discovered.

Owls come in various shapes, sizes, and colors and can be found in a wide range of habitats around the world. 

Whether it’s the Great Grey Owl, the Snowy Owl, or any other species, these fascinating birds will continue to capture our imaginations for years to come.

However, as with all wildlife, it’s essential to consider their environment when considering how many owls are there. 

We can ensure their populations remain healthy and abundant by respecting their habitat.

Conservation efforts like restoring wetlands, planting trees, and controlling pests can also help preserve and protect owl populations. 

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