13 Fascinating Facts You Didn’t Know About This Wild Bird
Owls are a solitary bird typified by its upright stance, a large, broad head, binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons, and feathers adapted for silent flight.
Owls are natural hunters of smaller animals mostly small mammals (rodents), insects, fishes and other birds. This bird lacks the ‘flock’ mindset and views every other bird except for the one it chooses as “mate” as an enemy or prey, and therefore, will likely attack others on sight.
This is probably the reason most people in Nigeria consider the owl an evil bird. But before you judge the anti-social creature, check out some fun facts you never knew about the Owl.
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1. There are 216 species of owls generally accepted to exist in the world and of these 216 species, 18 belong to the Barn Owl family (Tytonidae) and 198 belong to the typical owl family (Strigidae).
2. The Owl has an incredibly flexible neck that allows it to rotate 270 degrees. This is thanks to a blood-pooling system that collects blood which powers their brains and eyes when neck movement cuts off circulation.
3. Did you know that a group of Owls is called a parliament? Well, this originates from C.S. Lewis’ description of a meeting of owls in The Chronicles of Narnia.
4. Not only do they hunt other birds, owls hunt their very own. That is, owls hunt owls. The species of owl known for this barbarism is the Great Horned Owls known for their predatory prowess towards the smaller Barred Owl.
5. Most species of the owl possess what is described as asymmetrical ears – that is an unidentical set of ears which has the potential to pick the location of sounds in multiple dimensions.
6. Ever wonder why the eye of the owl is so scary? That is because their tube-shaped eyes are completely static, non-rotational, providing a binocular vision which fully focuses on their prey and boosts in-depth perception.
No wonder they’re regarded as diabolic creatures.
7. The largest known owl is the Great Gray Owl with a height of about 32 inches. While the tiniest of the species is the Elf Owl which has a size of up to 5 – 6 inches in appearance.
8. Owls are widely known as night birds. With a larger-than-life, focused gaze, no targeted prey can escape its extremely powerful talons.
9. I bet you didn’t know that Owls swallow their preys whole, not biting or chewing. The unfortunate victim is digested and the parts that can’t be broken down—like bones, fur, and feathers—are vomited as a hard lump, called a “pellet,” a few hours later. The animal estimatedly eats up to 1,000 mice each year and the Northern Hawk Owl can detect a vole to eat up to a half a mile away.
10. Owls don’t make good pets for the following reasons:
- They’re natural life prey hunters and flesh-eating birds
- It is considered illegal in developed countries or weird in others
- The bird can live up to 30 years, so if you’re prepared to put on your industrial-strength gloves and flinging gerbils into its cage well into late middle age, be my guest.
- Also, you’ll have a first-aid box handy for each time its sharp beak and talons strike.
- Owls are not very friendly birds thus it’s impossible to train them.
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11. Unlike other nations, the Owl is revered by Egyptians who believe they protect the dead since they can travel to the underworld.
12. It is believed that owls may have co-existed with Dinosaurs since their evolutionary origin is difficult to trace, not even their apparent kinship with contemporary nightjars, falcons and eagles.
13. Female Owls are slightly larger in size than the male for an unexplainable reason. But that is expected.