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Owls are known as birds of prey, just like eagles and hawks.
These birds are known to hunt, kill, and then eat animals just by using their curved bills and sharp talons. The classification of owls is pretty interesting as these birds belong to Strigiformes, a group of birds.
The group Strigiformes is further divided into two categories or families known as Tytonidae and Strigidae on the basis of the shape of an owl's face. The Tytonidae family consists of barn owls that are known for their heart-shaped faces, the Strigidae family on the other hand consists of all other owls that are known for their round-shaped faces. Some of the striking characteristics of owls are their ability to rotate their heads 270 degrees, reversible toes which can point forwards, as well as, backwards. An owl can be easily distinguished even when it is sitting on a tree along with other birds due to its huge head, short tail, and soft feathers. Owls have unique feathers which enable them to engage in a silent fight, catching their prey off guard.
An owl's hoot travels for around 450-600 ft (137-183 m) and also sounds like the word 'hoot'. Interestingly, there are over 250 different owl species in the world with owl species present in every continent except Antarctica. Usually, owls live in trees in the wild, but at times, they can be found at some nest sites on the outskirts of woods or in remote areas of cities. During the daytime, owls sleep and take cover either in owl boxes or in cavities of cliffs or trees depending on the species. The place where owls build their nests and rest after they hunt is known as a roost. Northern hawk owls and northern pygmy owls hunt during the day.
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Owls are deadly predators with each species having its own unique habitat, some living in America, some in Asia, and a large variety in Europe as well.
Owls, like eastern screech owls, live in the eastern part of the Rocky Mountains towards the Atlantic. In the case of snowy owls, it is usually male owls that go in search of food for their families. Female owls stay in the nest with their baby owls until male owls return with food. Although if food is scarce, a male owl will first feed itself and then bring food to the nest. There are some species that adopt different methods. An owl's home is called a roost.
Snowy owls, as the name suggests, refer to owl species that live in the snowy regions of North America but at times also travel to the southern part of the US in search of prey during the winter. This white-colored owl is also the heaviest owl species in the entire North American region and has a body size of around 20-28 in (50.8-71 cm). The snowy owl builds its nest on elevated ground rather than in trees, unlike many other owl species that choose to build their nests on the branches of trees.
The way snowy owls and short-eared owls build their nests is quite similar. Just like snowy ones, short-eared owls build shallow bowls on the ground and build fairly simple nests where they also lay eggs. January to February marks the nesting season of owls. Although this bird avoids places where it will have to face humans, they can be found roosting at beaches, fields, and even at some airports.
Great horned owls are one of the most common species of owls found all across the world, especially in the American continent. A large number of great horned owls live on the outskirts of cities and are known for hunting small mammals, insects, and birds including smaller owls.
The great horned owl is one of the largest owls you will ever probably come across. This owl is known to live in a large territory and protects it along with others of its species. Great horned owls are not restricted to only one particular place for building their nests as these birds are known to live in open country, trees, and also in between the edges of meadows and woods. A great horned owl's nest can also be found in cavities. Interestingly, some birds of these species also live in nests built by crows, hawks, and magpies in a tree. At times, these birds also eat skunks as their prey which is typical for owl species.
This bird can be found in forests, deserts, and woodlands as it is flexible when it comes to choosing a particular habitat and also hunts in any and every habitat. In fact, most owls live in a range of habitats. If you look at tree trunks or branches and find pellets or whitewash, there is a good chance that a horned owl has built its nest there.
Barn owls have very different habitats when compared to other owls. These birds, although can live in cities, prefer to live in the buildings in rural areas, mainly in farm barns. Barn owls are some of the slowest growing owls, staying in the nest for around six weeks before they begin to take their first flight.
These birds belong to the Tytonidae family have heart-shaped faces, unlike most other owls. Another interesting fact about barn owls is the technique they use to hunt their prey. This technique is termed 'quartering' as they look for their prey while flying.
It is typical of barn owls to build a nest in an empty building or a silo or cavities along cliffs or a farm barn. These owls do not prefer to live on top of trees or in a hole in a tree. They prefer corners inside barns as they then do not have to build any nesting area, and they can simply live in a corner, laying their eggs there as well. If barns have windows large enough the size of a barn owl, it will enter through it and you will not even realize that it is nesting within the barn. Moreover, you can also place barn owl boxes in an open field or on the ground where these owls can come and stop for a moment. Bird enthusiasts and photographers place these boxes to get the perfect shot. These birds are largely found in northern America and they hunt in rural areas at night and return to their habitats of buildings or barns for shelter.
Burrowing owls are different from other types of owls. The majority of owls live in a hollow tree trunk or are seen nesting in cliff cavities. They also look for shelter inside buildings and barns.
Burrowing owls on the contrary live underground. They also look for prey along the ground as they are seen hunting insects and small animals which stay on the ground. This also helps a burrowing owl to judge the direction of the sound.
A burrowing owl either lives in a hole that has previously been dug by a skunk or a prairie dog or at times chooses to dig a hole on its own. It builds its nests here itself and takes cover underground during any adverse weather conditions. These owls live in the western part of the US during the summer season and move to central, southern America during the winter, as well as other parts of the year.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked learning where do owls live, then why not take a look at how long do owls live, or how to deworm a cat?
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