Four spotted owl youngsters perched on a branch


Owls vary greatly in size, from the tiny elf owl to the huge eagle-owls. There are over 200 species and they are found on all continents except Antarctica. Owls are predators. Their prey varies from insects to fish to small mammals, and they rely on hearing rather than vision to locate it. Many species specialise in hunting at night, with feathers specially adapted for silent flight.

Did you know?
An owl can swivel its head through 270 degrees because of its 14 neck vertebrae.

Scientific name: Strigiformes

Rank: Order


Map showing the distribution of the Owls taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

BBC News about Owls