Fun Crested Owl Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Interesting crested owl facts for kids.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

The crested owl (Lophostrix cristata) is a type of owl and it is the only species in the Lophostrix genus. The crested owl is a medium-sized owl found in Central America and South America. Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico are some of the countries where you can find this bird. They usually have two color morphs which are the dark morph, and the pale morph. The darker morph has an overall dark brown or chocolate brown color and the pale morph has a rufous-brown body with dark brown accents. The most recognizable feature of these birds is their white eyebrows that extend into their long white ear tufts. The bird feeds mainly on large insects but is occasionally also known to feed on small vertebrates like small bats.

These birds are strictly nocturnal and can be found in moist lowland forests. They usually nest in pairs and have a deep frog-like croak. They nest in holes of mature trees in forests and breed during the dry or early wet season. These birds have a Least Concern status in the IUCN Red List and they are a fairly common species.

If you want to read more amazing animal articles, please check out Arctic tern and swallow-tailed kite.

Crested Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a crested owl?

The crested owl (Lophostrix cristata) is a type of nocturnal owl found in Central and South America. They are fairly common in the countries of Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico. They are known for their big white ear tufts.

What class of animal does a crested owl belong to?

The crested owl (Lophostrix cristata) belongs to the Aves class of the Animalia kingdom. They are from the Strigidae family. They are also the only species of the Lophostrix genus.

How many crested owls are there in the world?

The exact number of crested owls in the wild is estimated to be well over 50,000 mature individuals. This means they are densely populated in their native land. Unfortunately, their population trend is decreasing and this is mostly due to deforestation.

Where does a crested owl live?

The crested owl can be found in a lot of tropical forests in Central America and South America. Some of the countries these birds can be found in are Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico. They can be found from sea level to about 3280.8-3937 ft (1000-1200 m). They have a fairly large range.

What is a crested owl's habitat?

A crested owl prefers lowland, tropical forest habitats of Central and South America. They also like a habitat that is close to water. They can be from sea level to heights of up to 3280.8-3937 ft (1000-1200 m). They are mostly found in primary forests but also secondary forests. The crested owl can be found roosting in a mature tree hole that occurs naturally. They often roost in pairs with their partners.

Who do crested owls live with?

Owls are usually solitary animals, and the crested owl is not too different. They have been seen to roost in pairs.

How long does a crested owl live?

The exact lifespan of the crested owl is unknown, however the average lifespan of owls is about eight to 10 years in the wild and about 25 years in captivity. Based on this, it can be estimated that crested owls also have a similar lifespan.

How do they reproduce?

Crested owls are known to mate during the dry or early wet season of the year, usually from February to May. They probably nest in naturally occurring tree holes of mature trees in their habitat. The incubation period of a female is about 30-35 days. When the egg hatches, the males look after preying and hunting while the females look after the owlets. The exact number of eggs usually laid by these owls is unknown but the average clutch size of owls is about three to four eggs. Not much else is known about the mating and reproduction habits of this bird.

What is their conservation status?

The crested owl (Lophostrix cristata) is listed as a Least Concern species in the IUCN Red List. This means their population is safe in the wild, but their population trend is decreasing.

Crested Owl Fun Facts

What do crested owls look like?

The crested owl is a very striking bird. The adults are about 15-17 in (38.1-43.2 cm) long and mostly two plumage types can be seen in adults. The first is the dark morph and the owls with the dark morph have deep chocolate brown feathers. Their facial disk, crown, and breast are also a darker chocolate brown. They have light and dark barred flight feathers and white spots on their wing coverts. The owls with the pale morph have a buff brown or rufous-brown plumage and a dark brown collar. There is also a third grayish morph as well, but the gray morph can only be seen in the Stricklandi subspecies. All owls of this species have a very distinct extension from their white eyebrows that become long white or buff ear tufts. Their iris can be yellow to brown. The juvenile birds have a whitish plumage on their breast and wing. They have a darker facial disk and shorter ear tufts.

How cute are they?

This medium-sized owl is a cute species, especially because of their beautiful ear tufts. The baby owls are also very cute because of their fluffy white plumage.

How do they communicate?

Crested owls are known to communicate via vocalization. Their call occurs when they are perched high on the canopy. They have a low, frog-like croak that carries out through a long distance. Their calls can sometimes be mistaken for the similar-sounding bare-throated tiger-heron. Crested owls repeat their calls every five to 10 seconds.

How big is a crested owl?

The adult crested owl is about 15-17 in (38.1-43.2 cm) long. The crested owl is a medium-sized owl species.

How fast can a crested owl fly?

The exact speed of crested owls is not known. However, all owls are smooth fliers and can glide at a great speed at night. The crested owl, being a nocturnal predator, is also pretty great at flying.

How much does a crested owl weigh?

The average weight of an adult crested 0wl is about 15-22 oz (425.2-623.6 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male and female crested owls. They are simply called male crested owl and female crested owl.

What would you call a baby crested owl?

The baby crested owl, much like any other species of owl, is called an owlet.

What do they eat?

The crested owl is an opportunistic predator and this nocturnal bird feeds mainly on invertebrates. Some large insects make up the majority of their diet. They sometimes also prey on small vertebrates like small bats that can be found in the vicinity.

Are they poisonous?

No, crested owls are not poisonous. In fact, very few birds are actually poisonous, and much like the barn owl and short-eared owl, the crested owl is not one of them.

Would they make a good pet?

It is not a good idea to keep an owl as a pet because they are not used to human proximity. Since our paths don't cross too much, trying to capture or touch an owl will only stress them out. The only times humans and owls have been known to become close are when the bird is injured and a human takes care of it. The crested owl is a wild bird that should be allowed to live freely.

Did you know...

Crested owls have two main morphs a chocolate-colored dark morph and a rufous-brown pale morph. There is a third grayish morph but this only exists in the subspecies Stricklandi (Lophostrix cristata stricklandi). The Stricklandi subspecies also has dark facial disks.

What's the difference between a crested owl and a screech owl?

Belonging to the Strigidae family, both the crested owl and the screech owl are very interesting. The crested owl is much larger than the screech owl. There are about 23 species in the genus Megascops that the screech owls belong to, while the crested owl is the only species in the Lophostrix genus. Both these owls are strictly nocturnal. The crested owl has eyebrows that extend into big white ear tufts that screech owls do not. Screech owls have loud and sharp hooting calls while crested owls have a frog-like throaty croak that they let out every five to 10 seconds.

What threats do crested owls face?

Even though crested owls have a Least Concern status, their population trend is decreasing. This is mostly due to the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest which is the largest naturally occurring habitat of these birds. They are a fairly common species in this tropical rainforest habitat.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Burrowing Owl and  Griffon Vulture pages

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

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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