Types of owls: photo and description. Polar and snowy owls: a detailed description

Types of owls: photo and description. Polar and snowy owls: a detailed description
Types of owls: photo and description. Polar and snowy owls: a detailed description

Owls are birds that differ from the rest in their physiology and lifestyle. They are predominantly nocturnal, as they see well in the dark. Sharp claws allow them to track down and instantly kill their prey. What are the types of owls, and what are their distinctive features? That is what we are going to talk about now. It should be noted right away that there are about 220 species, but we will consider the most interesting of them.

types of owls

A little about the features of owls

A few words must be said right away about the size of these birds. The smallest representative, for which, in fact, he got his name, is a sparrow owl. The weight of the bird is only 50-80 grams, and the length is not more than 20 centimeters. The biggest owl is the eagle owl. Often there are individuals reaching impressive sizes. Length 60-75 centimeters, and weight up to 4 kilograms. However, regardless of size, all types of owls have a large head with lush plumage,because of which many may think that it is round. Thanks to the specific plumage, a flat facial disc is formed. Large and beautiful eyes - that's what attracts many of these predators. Their eyeball is able to capture large streams of light with low intensity, which allows them to perfectly see and track their prey at night.

Owl ears are ordinary, without an outer shell. For example, the "long-eared owl" has tufts of additional sensitive feathers that improve the conduction of sounds directly to the ear. Due to the asymmetric arrangement, the predator finds the source of the sound with high accuracy, which allows you to quickly orientate. It is worth paying attention to the fact that hearing for an owl is more important than sight, and is the main sense organ, since without it the bird simply cannot hunt. The paws of all species of owls are very strong with sharp claws, which allows you to instantly kill your prey.

Types of owls: a brief description

owl photo

Let's look at a few groups of predators that are the most expressive and interesting. Let's start with the gray owl. This is truly a gourmet owl that prefers to see only mice in its menu. But if it is very tight with prey, it can be interrupted by young pigeons that have not yet left their nest, or ground birds. This species is found throughout Europe, but most often in Spain, Greece, etc. It was previously assumed that they also live in Siberia, but studies did not give results. The length of a large individual can reach half a meter, the scopewings up to one meter.

Tawny Owl - an owl, which is considered the largest of all the owls known today. The length of an adult male is almost 70 centimeters, and the wingspan can be 120 cm. Unlike all other owl representatives, there is absolutely no difference between individuals of different sexes. This particular species is often not limited to hunting mice. They may also prey on hares, grouse or rabbits. There were even cases of a collision between a heron and a tawny owl, fortunately, both representatives survived.

The cave owl is common in America. She pulls out nests in the ground, often on plains, hills. Very often nests in other people's holes, for example, anteaters or armadillos. The most interesting thing is that such an owl with other mammals can live quite peacefully in the same hole. Confirmation of this was repeatedly captured by eyewitnesses.

Owl and long-eared owl

"King of the Night" - this is the name of one of the largest representatives of the owl family. The body length of this giant sometimes reaches 78 centimeters, and the wingspan is one and a half meters. It is found in almost all countries of the Old World. Despite the wide habitat, the "king of the night" cannot be called ordinary, because it is not so common. In the forests of Russia, the eagle owl is very rare, it was even listed in the Red Book. It is noteworthy that this predator practically does not wander, it remains in the nest site from year to year. As for hunting, the eagle owl comes out only at night to look for food. Both small and largevertebrates can become its prey. Of course, all types of owls adore mice, as well as felines, so the owl pays the most attention to them.

owl bird of prey

The long-eared owl is a mini version of the eagle owl. This predator differs from the one described above in that it has a thin body and incredibly developed auricles. Additional tufts of feathers make this owl's hearing somewhat better. It is worth noting that this particular type of bird is perceived by other species somewhat better. If other winged inhabitants do not even tolerate the eagle owl, then the long-eared owl does not cause such indignation. She is not so aggressive, and more sociable. Sometimes you can see how long-eared owls gather in groups of 20 or more in one tree. So they sit until late at night, and then the whole flock go hunting.

White Owl: rare and extraordinarily beautiful bird

Adults reach 71 centimeters in length, and the wingspan is more than one and a half meters. Color depends on age. The younger the individual, the more brown spots throughout the body. Closer to old age, the bird can become completely snow-white. Unfortunately, such individuals are very rare and many naturalists have been tracking long-lived snowy owls for years. The white owl prefers solitude, and does not consider a person to be its friend for well-founded reasons. Because of this, the predator loves remote areas, where it spends most of its life. Most often found in the Tundra and is a magnificent sight, especially when it comes to a large "wise" representative, onwith virtually no brown spots. Cases of attacks on game that a hunter has shot are attested. But in most cases, this representative of the owl behaves extremely carefully and tries not to catch the eye of a person. Let's talk about this predator in detail.


white owl bird

In fact, the snowy owl, which the most sophisticated researchers dream of taking a photo of, lives in many countries and localities. First of all, this, of course, is the tundra, but in practice the bird can fly a little further north. Travelers on their way to the Pole constantly met this predator, so it is difficult to say exactly where the white owl's habitat ends. The shores of Spitsberger, in particular the northwestern and southern ones, are also inhabited by these inhabitants, but in small numbers. Occasionally it was possible to observe these owls near the Novosibirsk coast. As for the tundra, it is found more or less evenly throughout its territory. But you can find a certain pattern: the more pieds, which are the main food in this area, the more snowy owls, and vice versa. In principle, the snowy owl, the photo of which is a must-see, is not so rare, but due to the fact that it is common in the cold places of the planet, people do not encounter it so often.

Reproduction of snowy owls

It is safe to say that the main reason for the high mortality of owls is starvation. Owls are highly dependent on rodent populations. In a bad year, up to 30-60% of young individuals die.If there are quite a lot of small rodents, then the population of owls increases significantly. Fortunately, this species is not so dependent on this, rather, the person who hunts this bird plays a big role here. Owls breed once a year around mid-May. The clutch is incubated by the female for 30-34 days. Sometimes the number of eggs reaches 11 pieces, but on average the bird lays 4-6 eggs. The role of the male is to provide food for the female, and then for the brood. Occasionally it happens that the female dies, and the male continues to incubate the clutch. By the way, despite the fact that an owl is a bird of prey and large individuals quite often die, for example, from hunters' shots or hunger, they choose a mate for themselves once in a lifetime. This applies not only to snowy owls, but also to many other bird species of this group.

Features of plumage and behavior

owl bird description

As noted above, the color of these owls varies depending on age. Juveniles are completely mottled, with brown spots all over the body, while middle-aged birds are colored with longitudinal spots on the head and transverse spots on the body. But of greatest interest to researchers are individuals of advanced age. If you manage to meet a very old owl, then it is quite possible that it will turn out to be completely white, without any spots. But since an owl is a bird of prey, it does not always live to an advanced age, and therefore it causes unhe althy interest among poachers who are ready to shoot birds for their own benefit. No wonder these predatorsThroughout their lives they try to avoid people. But it happens that a person comes too close, in which case the snowy owl pretends to be wounded or even dead. But if the threat does not pass, it quickly rises and flies away. It is safe to say that the snowy owl is a bird that, first of all, tries to save its offspring at any cost, therefore it will always protect it. To do this, the male guards the female, watching from the mountain, and at the slightest threat gives her a signal with a cry.

Interesting information about snowy owls

This group of predators is different in that they go hunting not only at night and in the evening, but also on a sunny day. Often this happens in the afternoon, when the owl is especially hungry. Before starting the hunt, the bird flies to a high hill or mountain, from where it observes for some time. Since the snowy owl is a bird that hunts relatively small areas of land, it can be kept in sight for a whole day. Of course, often even the most experienced owl connoisseurs cannot get within shooting distance of this bird. Most individuals are extremely timid, even though they stumble upon a direct threat very rarely, due to the poor population of their habitats. Perhaps such a reaction indicates a well-developed instinct for self-preservation. It should be noted that the snowy owl is a bird that is able to repulse such diurnal predators as a hawk or a golden eagle. They rarely attack large individuals, but they often look at a nest with small owlets.

owl bird

Notable Features

Most researchers from around the world are gradually coming to the conclusion that the owl family is an independent detachment. This is evidenced by anatomical features, many of which have nothing to do with diurnal predators. However, one must understand that different groups of owls sometimes have nothing in common with each other, except for anatomy. Some hunt at night, while others prefer to hunt during the day. For example, the owl has an impressive size, and the owl is the exact opposite of it. If hawk owls have similarities with hawks, and long-eared owls with eagle owls, then the same polar owls can be considered unique birds in some way, if only because ducks and other waterfowl often settle near the nests of these predators. And they live peacefully next to each other. This is due to the fact that the owl never hunts in the immediate vicinity of its nest, unlike some other predators. Although during the period of hunger strike and this is possible. In any case, you need to at least once see how an owl gets food. There are a huge number of photos that the bird hunts, but they are all obtained by hard work.


owl night bird

For many years, scientists have been conducting various studies, so today we have a lot of information about these predators. For example, despite the fact that an owl is a nocturnal bird, it does not see in complete darkness, like a person. Therefore, if you place a predator in a dark room where the rays of light do not fall, and launch a rodent there, then it will only be eatenwhen it makes a rustle or sound. But still, unnatural conditions for finding food also affect, because these are the birds of the forest. The owl is in many ways the perfect predator.

Sometimes even between relatives there are conflicts. In this case, the night owl chooses a variety of defense methods, tries to scare the barn owl, but hides from the eagle owl or other large individuals, often disguising itself in tree branches. It is also noteworthy that the owl hears perfectly even when it flies. Most importantly, the victim will be killed with a probability of 99%, so we can say that the owl rarely makes mistakes.

Well, that's probably all that can be said about who an owl is. The description of the bird may differ depending on its species. But absolutely all are deadly killer predators. Silent flight, excellent hearing and vision, as well as sharp claws make themselves felt. It is difficult to say whether owls are useful or harmful. Smaller individuals prey only on rodents that harm farmlands, while larger ones can kill ducks and hares, as well as rabbits, which is detrimental to agriculture.

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