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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Did You Know? 19 Incredible Desert Owl Facts

There are so many fun, interesting desert owl facts to know and learn! Which one is your favorite?

The desert owl, also called the owl strix, is one of the most famous residents of the deserts of the Middle East. Whether you are in Israel, Jordan, or in neighboring nations, you are bound to have caught sight of this beautiful bird at least once! Though it prefers a solitary life and will merge only to mate, one can easily catch these medium-sized birds in the skies. With a population of approximately 6,000, though they are not species of concern yet, their loss of habitat and lack of food resources is fast raising concerns with scientists and other ornithologists. It is believed that urgent intervention is the only way to save this ear-tufted bird! With a mating season that lasts almost the entire year, there is still a lot of room for research into these majestic birds.

If you wish to know all about this bird, such as its young, its ear tufts, and its presence around the world, then do read on! If you are fascinated by birds and animals alike, then we know you will love reading about the common buzzard facts and the short-eared owl facts too!

Desert Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a desert owl?

The desert owl (Strix hadorami) is a type of owl.

What class of animal does a desert owl belong to?

This owl (Strix hadorami) belongs to a class of birds.

How many desert owls are there in the world?

The Arabian population of these Strix species is expected to be over 3,000 pairs, with roughly 200 pairs in Israel in the late 1980s. Although, there is no data available for the world population.

Where does a desert owl live?

The desert owl (Strix Hadorami) lives in the desert.

What is a desert owl's habitat?

The habitat of the Strix hadorami is in rocky desert environments with cliffs, ravines, and small caves, especially deep wadis with cavities for nesting and resting, as well as some flora. It is most common on limestone cliffs, but it can also be a habitat in Saudi Arabia's basaltic and granitic regions.

Who does a desert owl live with?

Owl birds (Strix hadorami) live on their own. Mostly these Strix birds are solitary.

How long does a desert owl live?

This (Strix hadorami) bird lives for around 10 years in natural conditions. In the wild ground, the elf owl lives for 3-6 years, but in captivity, they normally live 6-10 years long.

How do they reproduce?

In Israel, the mating season for this owl (Strix hadorami) runs from March to August, while it starts earlier in south Oman, where couples stop vocalizing as soon as March. In the Arabia region, the deposition of eggs is thought to take place from early February to late April. Only one duo has been researched in depth in Israel, five eggs were placed during 6-14 May, with 34–39 days of an incubation period. Eggs emerged on 10–21 May, and the nascent period was 30–40 days.

Elf owls build their nests in big cacti, sycamores, and oak trees, where these birds can find natural tree crevices and discarded woodpecker cracks. The nest is 15-35 ft (4.5-10 m) above ground level. The elf owl (female) lay two to four eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this owl (Strix hadorami) is classified as Least Concern by IUCN Red List.

Desert Owl Fun Facts

What does a desert owl look like?

It is primarily diurnal and inactive in nature. It has the sturdy body and round head of a little tawny owl, although it is paler, has less streaking, especially on the underparts, and yellow eyes. The top of the elf owls' spherical head is devoid of "ear tufts" or feathers. The eyes of these birds are pale yellow in color and are highlighted by lean white eyebrows.

The desert owl (Strix hadorami) or earless owl is a medium-sized bird, smaller than a tawny owl.

How cute are they?

Owls (Strix hadorami) are birds with no ears. The color and appearance of this Strix bird make it less cute.

How do they communicate?

The call of this (Strix hadorami) bird is "hoooo-ho-ho-ho-ho".  Female calls are deeper and less distinct than the males' calls. Elf owl males have two basic sound classes, both of which have comparable structural and functional properties.

How big is a desert owl?

The elf owl is the world's smallest owl. These little owls are 4.9-5.7 in (12.44-14.47 cm) in length. While the average length of the owl (Strix hadorami) is 11.8-12.9 in (29.97-32.76 cm). Elf owls are much smaller than these owls (Strix hadorami). Both species of owls belong to a similar owl family (Family: Strigidae).

How fast can a desert owl fly?

Elf owls are known for their 'silent flight,' in which they pursue their prey without making noise or sound. Soft feathers on the leading fringe of their wings reduce the sound of wing beats.

Due to a lack of research, information about the flying speed of these (Strix hadorami) birds is not available.

How much does a desert owl weigh?

The average weight range of this owl (Strix hadorami) is 4.93-7.76oz (139.7-219.9 g). The elf owl is the thinnest owl in the world. The average body weight of this owl is 1.4 oz (39.68 g).  

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are not any separate names for the male and female owl.

What would you call a baby desert owl?

The baby of the desert owl Strix species does not have any specific name.

What do they eat?

Rodents and small insects such as geckos, gerbils, mice, shrews, jirds, and some passerine birds make up the majority of the bird's diet. They also eat arthropods such as grasshoppers, scorpions, and beetles.

Are they poisonous?

This owl (Strix hadorami) species is not a poisonous bird.

Would they make a good pet?

This Strix species of bird is mainly sedentary and nocturnal (active at night). Mostly they are solitary by nature and there is not sufficient information about them in captivity. So it is not a good idea to keep them as a pet.

Did you know...

Cactus ferruginous pygmy-owls (desert owl in cactus) can be found in the deserts of southern Arizona in the United States and northern Mexico. They start nesting in the crevices of trees and cactus-like organ pipe and saguaro in the late winter period or early springtime. Woodpeckers are frequently responsible for these abandoned holes. Sonoran desert owls include western screech, burrowing owl, great horned owl, and elf owls.

Owls can be found in a wide range of environments, including deserts, prairies, woods, and the Arctic tundra. They build their nests in trees, pits in the ground, caves, and barns. And, unlike many other species, most owls do not move to warmer climates throughout the winter. The largest, as well as one of the most endangered owl species in the world, is the Blakiston fish owl (Bubo Blakistoni).

Water can be scarce in the desert, but elf owls acquire all of their water from the prey they consume. Elf owls use desert cactus and trees in woody canyons to build their nests. The diet of owls includes snakes, birds, frogs, rodents, fish, rabbits, skunks, and hares.

The owl is a nocturnal creature. The majority of owl vocalizations are loud and low in tone, allowing them to travel considerable distances through the night sky. Owls are all predators and prey on other animals for diet. Other predators, such as shrews, bats, weasels, and insect-eating birds, are frequently eaten by owls. As a result, owls are at the very top of the food chain.

What kind of owls live in the desert?

The elf owl is the tiniest owl species, living in the holes of saguaro cacti (mostly holes are abandoned by woodpeckers). The barn owl, great horned owl, and burrowing owl are among the other owls that can be located in the desert.

How is night vision an adaptation for an owl in a desert environment?

For most desert biomes, owls have developed night vision as a result of the fact that most creatures and critters emerge at night in quest of food and water. This is due to the fact that the sun's light is so powerful during the day that practically all food is unavailable. Many people assume the tawny owl has excellent night vision, but its retina is no more delicate than that of a human.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including crowned eagle facts and Dodo facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our desert owl coloring pages.

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