All About Owls

Owls are some of the many different kinds of birds of prey. There are around 150 kinds of owls, 22 kinds of which live here in North America.

The snowy owl has yellow eyes with dark pupils and a white face with a large, hooked beak. Its whole body, from the back of its head to its tail feathers, is covered in gray and black spots, with bright white surface feathers. It avergaes 21-30 inches tall. Snowy owls have very thick feathers and more body fat than most other owls. They eat snowshoe hares, most small rodents, fish, and sometimes even young deer. During the winter, when food is hard to find, snowy owls might go into a sleep-like hibernation for up to six weeks. While hibernating, they barely use any energy; therefore, they do not need any food or hydration during this time.

Another owl species, the Eurasian eagle owl has scarlet red eyes with huge, blackened pupils. It has a talon-like beak, but thicker. Instead of eyebrows, it has long feathers sticking straight out. The feathers on the top of its head are dark brown, but the rest are a mixture of dark brown, orange, light brown, and tan. These owls eat rabbits, skunks, rats, and fish. Eurasian eagle owls live in jungles and forests all around the world.

The elf owl, a third owl species, is one of the smallest owls. It has a thin, yellowish band of color around its large pupils. Its beak is grayish with a peach tip. These owls have dark brown feathers on the top of its head with lighter shades of brown, orange, tan, and white feathers around its eyes. It grows up to five to six inches tall. The elf owl eats spiders, insects, scorpions, and small reptiles.

A fourth species of owl, the great horned owl, has horn-like feathers that stick out from the sides of its head. Its feathers are tan, brown, and peach with black and white spots between the horns. It has large, dark pupils surrounded by a bright yellow strip of color. This owl's beak, like most owls', is black and in the shape of a hook. The feathers on its body are shades of orange, black, white, brown, tan, and peach, along with gray and auburn. Great horned owls eat rabbits, rats, fish, and some small birds.

Each species of owl has its own special features, making them all unique and interesting to study.

[Source: Owls and Other Birds of Prey]