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
The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
Owls are a group of birds that belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 extant bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions (e.g., the Northern Hawk Owl). Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found in all regions of the Earth except Antarctica, most of Greenland and some remote islands. Owls are characterized by their small beaks and wide faces, and are divided into two families: the typical owls, Strigidae; and the barn-owls, Tytonidae.
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