Fun Forest Owlet Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Forest Owlet Facts For Kids

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The forest owlet (Athene blewitti) species comprises small owls that are mostly found in West and Central India. These nocturnal beings have a lot of myths and superstitions surrounding them. Across cultures, they are considered a symbol of fear, black magic, superstition, wisdom, fierceness, courage. There are a lot of beliefs surrounding the forest spotted owlet. In Greek mythology, it is said that Goddess Athena was so fond of their eyes that she honored these night birds as her favorite creatures. Owls flying over the battle soldiers in Greece was considered a sign of luck. While in English literature, these birds were considered creatures of darkness and were associated with death. This bird is native to Central Indian and is considered endangered as a result of deforestation. Earlier in England, people used owls to predict the weather; for example, a screeching owl was a sign of the coming of the cold weather and storm.  

To know more facts about forest owlets (Heteroglaux blewitti), keep reading this fact file. Afterward, do check our other articles on the prairie falcon and tawny owl as well.

Fun Forest Owlet Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Insects, lizards, and rodents

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

5-7 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.55 lb (250 g)

How long are they?


How tall are they?

9.05 in (23 cm)

What do they look like?

Brown plumage and big eyes

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Habitat Loss And Climate Change

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Woodlands And Forest Areas


Madhya Pradesh), Gujrat, Chhattisgarh, West-central India (maharashtra, Odisha









Forest Owlet Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a forest owlet?

The forest owlet (Heteroglaux blewitti) is a bird species, a small owl mostly endemic to Central India. Big round eyes, sharp vision, small body size, and hooked bill are a few peculiar features of this owl species.

What class of animal does a forest owlet belong to?

The forest owlet (Heteroglaux blewitti) is bird species belonging to class Aves of phylum Chordata in kingdom Animalia. Further, it belongs to the genus Athenes, the genus of true owls of the family Strigidae of the order Strigiformes, with over 200 species of solitary nocturnal owls. Other birds are short-eared owls, great gray owls, and barn owls.

How many forest owlets are there in the world?

These birds are a highly endangered species as a result of deforestation. As per wildlife biologist Prachi Mehta, there are about 1,000 or fewer mature owls of this species dwelling in the wild regions of India, primarily in Madhya Pradesh. Before 1997, the family of these owls was considered extinct since the members of this species were not sighted for a considerable period in their natural habitat of teak forests, but later they were rediscovered by Pamela Rasmussen. But their dwindling population has necessitated owl conservation efforts.

Where does a forest owlet live?

As per wildlife biologist Prachi Mehta, this nocturnal species lives in the forests in Central India and is sighted in a few locations such as Maharashtra, Gujrat, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and in places in Meghalaya Tiger Reserve.

What is a forest owlet's habitat?

Individuals of this species nest in the trees or hollow cavities of trees like soymida febrifuga in India at heights of around 16.4-26.2 ft (5.0-8.0 m) above the ground level. Too much human disturbance in the areas occupied by these birds for foraging activities has led to these birds taking shelter in forest owlet habitat across the open canopy and dense undergrowth in forests present in various states of India like Maharashtra, Gujrat, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh.

Who do forest owlets live with?

This forest-dwelling forest owlet bird species prefer to live as solitary individuals. But since the total number of individuals of this species is very less, only a few birds have been spotted in pairs during mating season in India.

How long does a forest owlet live?

The average lifespan of these forest little owl species ranges between 8-10 years in the forests of India. While in captivity, their life span improves considerably, and they may live for around 25-30 years. This is because the level of danger this species is exposed to decreases in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Courtship display takes place around January or February, where they attract the opposite sex with a unique call and vocal abilities. After mating, a female of this species lays around five to seven eggs on an average in the nest and is guarded by the male. The female is fed by the male owlet during the nestling period, and the female feeds the baby owlets. These juvenile owlets fledge after 30-32 days.

What is their conservation status?

Forest owlets are decreasing in numbers day by day across the world and are now considered endangered as per the IUCN Red List, with less than 1000 owlets dwelling in the wild. Owlet numbers are so low that they were once considered extinct, but they were sighted in India after a few years, confirming the presence of breeding populations in the wild.

Forest Owlet Fun Facts

What do forest owlets look like?

With a small and sturdy body, a forest owlet is mostly diurnal, except after 10 am, it reduces its foraging activities. Unspotted crowns, banded tails, and wings are few striking features of the forest owlet species. There are a few faint spots on its crown and its back. The breasts are almost solid brown, except there's a visible wedge in the central region of the breast. A dark patch underneath the wings is visible during the flight. Their eyes are yellow in appearance, the bill is strong and hooked, and the facial disc is visibly pale.

Forest owlets have powerful talons that help them hunt prey almost twice their size.

*Please note that this is the image of a spotted owlet and not the forest owlet. If you find an image of the forest owlet, please mail us at [email protected]

Even though in India these birds are associated with bad omen, one cannot deny their cuteness. These birds are really cute, especially due to their large eyes and sturdy body and thick legs.

How do they communicate?

These forest owlets have special vocal abilities to communicate. This species is capable of producing several different calls and songs. Territorial calls sound like kwaak.. kk, kwaa..kk, and the contact calls sound like kee yah, kee…yah, the male owlet uses this call when bringing food to feed its female mate. Chirrur… chirrur, chirr…chirr call is used when it is alarming others of possible dangers and hungry female, and juvenile owlets use kee…k, kee…k while asking for food.

How big is a forest owlet?

Forest owlets are small owls and are almost half the size of an average hawk. They measure around 9.05 in (23 cm). Unlike other birds, owls and owlets have a comparatively bigger head and a bigger hooked bill.

How fast can a forest owlet fly?

Owls are fast birds. The flying speed of a forest owlet is not really known due to their lower number in the wild, but it is noted and estimated that these owlets, like other owls, can reach a speed of around 40 mph (65 kph).

How much does a forest owlet weigh?

These owlets are the smallest of the owl family and weigh very little. An average adult owlet may weigh around 0.55 lb (250 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Formally a male owlet is referred to as an owl Cocco, and a female owlet is referred to as an owl hen. Male owlets have comparatively lighter plumage than female owlets.

What would you call a baby forest owlet?

A baby forest owlet is referred to as an owlet or a nestling. Nestlings are fed by their mother owl after hatching and fledge after a few weeks.

What do they eat?

Forest owlets are predators and feed on small-sized mammals such as lizards and other invertebrates. Besides, a male owlet is observed to show filial cannibalism.

Are they dangerous?

They are not really dangerous, but one needs to be careful in their vicinity. Reports suggest that people have been attacked by the owlets defending their young ones, especially in the eyes.

Would they make a good pet?

Owlets, just like a lot of wild birds, cause a lot of diseases in humans. Even though it is very popular to keep pets according to English literature, they are not the best choice of pets. Apart from this, forest owlets are an endangered species. Hence the practice of taking them as pets is banned in India. Moreover, it is not possible to cater to their diet of lizards.

Did you know...

Owlets are important predators in the food chain and are responsible for controlling the population of certain prey in the food chain.

Their binocular vision aids them in hunting at night. These owlets eat up the rodents and help humans from rodent infestation in agriculture fields.

Increased infestation of grasshopper pests is the result of an increase in toxicity of insecticide carbofuran, leading to a decrease in the population of owls that are natural predators.

Why is the forest owlet endangered?

Deforestation is one main reason for the reduced number of these bird species. The habitat in which these forest owlets forage is being invaded by humans for industrial purposes and settlements. Another reason is the myths associated with these birds, which is one reason that they are frequently hunted down by people and roadside travelers. Besides, the eggs of these birds are used for gambling for fake medicinal practices.

Saving the forest owlet

One way of saving these birds is by using social media and other platforms to raise awareness amongst the masses.

Awareness has to be spread regarding the myths surrounding these birds.

Forming laws and using devices to trace these birds is also a way to save these birds from extinction.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these sea eagle facts and Carolina Wren facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable forest owlet coloring pages.


Written By
Kidadl Team

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