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Animal Facts - Owls

In this page, we will look at the Owls.

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Can owls spin their heads completely around?

No, an owl cannot spin its head completely around (360 degrees). Instead, it can spin its head about 270 degrees (three-fourths).

Owls have very big eyes compared to the size of their skulls. Their eyes are fixed and cannot be moved. Instead of moving their eyes, owls swivel their head to visualize their surroundings. The swiveling radius of the owl’s head is around 270°, easily enabling them to see behind them without moving their body. This ability keeps bodily movement at a minimum which reduces the amount of sound the owl makes as it waits for its prey. Owls have great binocular fields of vision. But they are farsighted and cannot focus on objects within a few centimeters of their eyes.

In this video, the baby owl (chick) is screaming and the other owl turns its head almost completely. It looks like a 360° turn, but notice that the owl's back is facing the camera. (So, it is from 180° one side to 180° the other side).

Owls have specialized hearing functions and ear shapes that helps them to locate their prey. They have asymmetrical ear placements on the skull (ie. one ear is higher that the other ear). Their sensitive ears allow them to pinpoint the direction of a sound with great accuracy. Once an owl has determined the location of its prey, it flies towards it according to the last sound perceived. If the prey moves, the owl is able to adjust its flight pattern mid-flight.

This video analyze the keen sense of hearing and ideal hunting body shape of the owl. Their satellite-shaped head means that the penalty for rustling is almost always death.

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