What is an owl?
Owls are birds from the order Strigiformes, which
includes about 200 species of mostly solitary and
nocturnal birds of prey typified by an upright stance,
a large, broad head, binocular vision, binaural hearing,
sharp talons, and feathers adapted for silent flight.
Exceptions include the diurnal northern hawk-owl and
the gregarious burrowing owl. Owls are divided into
two families: the Strigidae family of true (or typical)
owls; and the Tytonidae family of barn-owls.
What do owls eat?
Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other
birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish.
They are found in all regions of the Earth except
Antarctica and some remote islands.
The physical characteristics of an owl
Owls possess large, forward-facing eyes and ear-holes,
a hawk-like beak, a flat face, and usually a conspicuous
circle of feathers, a facial disc, around each eye. Most
birds of prey have eyes on the sides of their heads, but
the stereoscopic nature of the owl's forward-facing eyes
permits the greater sense of depth perception necessary
for low-light hunting. Although owls have binocular vision,
their large eyes are fixed in their sockets—as are those of
most other birds—so they must turn their entire heads to
change views. Their far vision, particularly in low
light, is exceptionally good.
Sexual dimorphism is a physical difference between males
and females of a species. Reverse sexual dimorphism, when
females are larger than males, has been observed across
multiple owl species. Overall, this applies to most owl species.
Male (pictured left) Female (pictured right)
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