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Fun Red Owl Facts For Kids

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Endemic members of the Madagascar islands, the Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei), are small, brightly colored owls, belonging to the barn owl family. They are biologically categorized under the family tytonidae. Though red owls show a number of differences when compared to barn owls, they are also known to resemble their relatives in a vast majority of traits. Red owls exhibit reclusive behavior and were rediscovered after the species was originally recorded in 1876, because at one point they had virtually disappeared. Red owls are involved in diurnal roosting but at mostly active during the night.

The bright orange-red plumage patterned with black spots makes these owls an endearing sight to look at. Carry on with us to discover some amazing facts about red owls. After reading about this type of barn owl, you may also read house finch and barn owl facts.

Fun Red Owl Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Rodents, insects and small mammals

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

4-6 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.7 lb (11.38 oz)

How long are they?


How tall are they?

10.33 in (26 cm)

What do they look like?

Orange-red plumage with black spots

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Loss Of Habitat And Food

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Rice Paddies, Forest Edges And Tavies











Red Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a red owl?

Madagascar red owls (Tyto soumagnei) are an owl of the tytonidae family who are a family of barn owls. Red owls are recognized by a number of other designations such as Soumange's owl, Madagascar grass-owl or Madagascar red owl.

What class of animal does a red owl belong to?

Madagascar red owls (Tyto soumagnei) belong to the class aves.

How many red owls are there in the world?

The present population of the Madagascar red owl is estimated to range between 3,500 and 15,000 individuals. However, according to research, their population is thought to be declining.

Where does a red owl live?

Ever since their rediscovery in 1993, recurring surveys and observations have depicted a major evolution in the habitat of Madagascar red owls (Tyto soumagnei). These owls are found in a large range of habitats. They are known residents of tavies, dry deciduous forest, rock ledges in ravines,  humid evergreen forest, cave entrances and rice paddies. They make nests in tree cavities along the forest edges and also hunt for food in the same area.

What is a red owl's habitat?

Originally, these inhabitants of Madagascar were estimated to be distributed along the north and east of the island. However, red owls were eventually spotted at Kalambatritra, along the south central regions of Madagascar, and at the southeast lowlands of Tsitongambarika. This bird inhabits forest areas and lives in tree cavities.

Who do red owls live with?

Madagascar red owls are known to be nocturnal animals and resort to daytime roosting. Madagascar red owls (Tyto Soumagnei) are usually found living in isolation, or in pairs.

How long does a red owl live?

The lifespan of Madagascar red owls (Tyto soumagnei) is as yet unknown. They may live up to ten years or more if they don’t contract any disease and fulfil their dietary intake.

How do they reproduce?

There are no direct details about the mating procedures of Madagascar red owls. However, since these organisms belong to the family tytonidae, their reproduction habits are assumed to resemble that of barn owls. Madagascar red owls (Tyto soumagnei) are presumed to form monogamous pairs, like their barn owl relatives. The males guide the female to a safe nesting site to take care of their nutrition. However, due to the solitary and highly private living conditions of the red owl, the scope of study on these birds has been restricted. Only one known nesting has been reported, which was found to contain two eggs. Studies showed that the babies fledged about two and a half months after hatching. In general, the male and the female members of the owl family are known to work together to tend to the little ones. The females incubate the eggs while the males hunt for food.

What is their conservation status?

The population of red owls is rapidly declining largely due to deforestation, which ultimately leads to the loss of habitat for these birds as well as their prey. Due to their decreasing population, red owls are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN red list.

Red Owl Fun Facts

What do red owls look like?

Madagascar red owls (Tyto soumagnei) are small-sized members of the barn owl family. With a bright plumage of orange-red feathers that are patterned with black spots, these reclusive birds are quite adorable. The male and female members have a similar body structure in terms of appearance. Their facial disk ranges in color from orange-white to gray or brown and is adorned with sooty black eyes. Their tail is morphologically short and their feet are smoky gray in tone. The babies are brighter in shade than the adults of the species.

A red owl has spots towards their tail.

*Please note that this is not a picture of a red owl. If you have a picture of a red owl please let us know at [email protected]

How cute are they?

Madagascar red owls are definitely cute. Although red owls exhibit high reclusiveness, due to their bright coloring and small sized structures these rainforest owls make an adorable and engaging sight to behold.

How do they communicate?

The rainforest owls use spine chilling screech vocals that last for around two seconds in order to communicate with the other members of their species.

How big is a red owl?

According to studies, the length of a red owl is around 10.33 in (26 cm). Due to lack of red owl research, only limited studies have been conducted regarding their anatomy.

How fast can a red owl fly?

There are no records about the flying speeds of red owls. They can be seen flying at a moderate pace and increase their speed when they see their prey.

How much does a red owl weigh?

A member of the Madagascar red owl species was documented in the late 1990s. According to these records, the weight of the Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei) was found to be around 0.7 lb (11.38 oz).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific designation allotted to the members of species Tyto soumagnei based on their sex. The males are referred to as male red owls while the females are referred to as female red owls.

What would you call a baby red owl?

The offspring of red owls are known as owlets.

What do they eat?

According to observation and studies, red owls are carnivorous organisms and their diet mainly includes native mammals, reptiles, and insects that inhabit the Madagascar island. They also feed on frogs, rodents, afrosoricida, eastern rufous mouse lemur, geckoes, and tenrecs.

Are they dangerous?

Red owls are a highly reclusive species and therefore not much is known about the behavioral patterns of these owls.

Would they make a good pet?

They may make a good pet if the owner is experienced and can provide all the needs of the Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei).

Did you know...

Though originally discovered in 1876, the members of the Madagascar red owl species were largely inconspicuous until their rediscovery in 1993 by the WWF.

Despite the vast majority of similarities between barn owls and red owls, differences in the feeding habits of both the species have been observed.

The red owl's call

The screech of the Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei) is quite loud and lasts for around two seconds. Just like their physical similarities, red owls resemble barn owls in their calls as well. However, a difference in the frequency is the only differentiation between the two. Tyto soumagnei usually make these calls to communicate with other red owls while leaving their roosting sites.

What is the rarest type of owl?

The largest owl species inhabiting the terrains of the Earth, Blakiston's fish owl (Bubo blakistoni) is also the rarest type of owl. These owls are largely restricted to the topography of China, Russia and Japan. They are also categorized as an Endangered species on the IUCN Red List.

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 secretary bird, or tawny eagle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our red owl coloring pages.

Written By
Kidadl Team

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