interesting facts about tawny owls

The size of a wood pigeon, and highly territorial in nature- tawny owls are the most widespread owls in the entire European continent. It has been estimated that there are about 50,000 pairs of tawny owls in Europe.

When you read the word “tawny owls”, there is a high possibility that you might confuse these owls with another creature called tawny frogmouth. However, you must make sure that is not the case as tawny frogmouths are not even owls.

Does your kid want to know about these European owls? If that is the case then we have got everything covered in this article of 11 amazing tawny owl facts that we are sure your kids would love to know about.

11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Tawny Owls for Kids

Tawny owls primarily live in woodlands although they have now adapted to live almost anywhere where there are trees including urban areas.

These birds can be found across Great Britain although they are absent from the islands. They are not found anywhere in Ireland because they do not like migrating at all and hence, never undertook the short sea route from Great Britain to Ireland.

With that little introduction, let us jump right to the list of the amazing tawny owl facts for kids. Happy reading!

1. Tawny owls can have different colors which are based on the area where they are found

Tawny owls are generally found across the temperate zones of Europe and Asia. To be exact, one can find them from Great Britain to Western Siberia.

Although they are usually brown in color, these birds have certain variations when it comes to their appearance. Depending on the place, they can be either a deep chestnut brown or grey in color

2. They look very kind because of their facial structure

Tawny owls have a large, rounded head with no ear tufts at all. They have pale whitish crown stripes right above their eyes that make it look like they have eyebrows. This gives a very kind expression on the owl’s face.

3. Tawny owls have asymmetrically placed ears

An interesting fact about the tawny owls is that their ears are asymmetrically placed which helps in improving directional hearing.

Being a nocturnal bird of prey, a strong sense of hearing is extremely important for these birds.

4. Tawny owls have great eyesight

Like most other owls, tawny owls too, have great eyesight during the night. Their eyes are extremely large when compared to the head size. Since they do not have any room for the eye muscle, instead of moving their eyes, they can turn around their heads 270 degrees to look around.

5. Tawny owls are extremely agile hunters

Tawny owls are very agile hunters, especially at night. They are able to move around trees and obstacles without making a sound. Their wings are rounded and are designed in such a way that it helps them glide with very few wing beats.

6. They have an extremely versatile diet

Tawny owls being extremely agile hunters have a versatile diet. They will feed on woodland rodents, small mammals like rabbits, birds, beetles, and even earthworms.

They are able to locate their prey from a perch before they glide silently towards it and snatch it up.

7. Tawny owls are non-migratory birds and are highly territorial in nature

Unlike the snowy white owls who migrate a lot, tawny owls do not migrate at all. These birds are highly territorial in nature and can be fiercely protective of their babies.

There have been instances where dogs, cats, and even humans were attacked by these ferocious birds. There has been a famous case of a wildlife photographer who lost his eye because he went too close to the nest of a tawny owl.

If you want to know more about snowy white owls, feel free to read our article on them here- 11 Amazing Snowy Owls Facts for Kids

8. These birds are very vocal and have distinctive hoots

Tawny owls are highly vocal birds and they have many different vocal calls. For example, the most distinctive one is the ‘to-woo’ hoot which they use to announce ownership of the property.

Additionally, their hoots are highly individualistic and can be used to recognize one tawny owl from another.

9. Tawny owls prefer living in nests which are holes in trees

Tawny owls usually use the hole in a tree as their nest. However, there have been times where they will use old and abandoned nests of European magpies or squirrels. They are also known to use holes in buildings and abandoned boxes as their nesting place.

10. The tawny owls’ eggs are glossy white in color

Usually, tawny owls breed once a year and lay two or three glossy white eggs. These eggs are incubated by the female alone for 30 days until they hatch. After hatching, within ten days, the owlets will start hiding on the nearby branches and flying small distances.

The parents care for the owlets for a maximum of two to three months after which they fend for themselves.

11. Tawny owls have many predators even though they are ferocious birds

Tawny owls themselves are predators to less aggressive woodland owls. However, they still have a lot of predators like hawks, eagles and, larger species of owls.

Since tawny owls are relatively small owls, it makes them an obvious target for the larger birds of prey. Pine martens, especially have been known to raid their nests for eggs.

Want to know about the smallest owl, read our article: 11 Amazing Elf Owl Facts for Kids

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is special about tawny owls?

Tawny owls are specially adapted to hunt in woodlands and they have very short wings which are completely silent while moving.

What do tawny owls eat?

Tawny owls have one of the most varied diets when it comes to owls in general. They will eat small mammals, bats, birds, amphibians, and even earthworms.

Can a tawny owl kill a cat?

While cats do not necessarily form a part of the tawny owl’s diet, on certain occasions tawny owls might attack small cats for food.

How big do tawny owls grow?

On average, a tawny owl can grow anywhere between 37 to 43 cm in length with an average wingspan of 81 to 96 cm.

How heavy is a tawny owl?

On average, an adult tawny owl can weigh anywhere between 0.83 to 1.76 pounds.

What is the wingspan of a tawny owl?

Tawny owls have an average wingspan of 81 to 96 cm.

How long does a tawny owl live for?

On average, tawny owls can live in the wild for up to 4 years. However, there have been exceptions where one tawny owl has lived for almost 23 years.

What time of year do tawny owls call?

The late autumn and winter months are the duration wherein one can hear the hooting calls of the tawny owls.

Do tawny owls come out during the day?

No, like most owls, tawny owls are nocturnal beings and prefer coming out after sundown.

Where do tawny owls go during the day?

Tawny owls try to be well hidden during the day as other birds often try to mob them. They hide in their nests which are mostly holes found in the trees.

Are tawny owls dangerous?

Tawny owls, like most other owls or animals in general, will ferociously protect their young ones. It has been said that one of the greatest wildlife photographers has lost an eye to a tawny owl while he was trying to approach the nest.

That was it folks! Those were some of the most amazing tawny owl facts for kids we could gather for you. Do not be fooled by the kind expression of these owls as they can be extremely ferocious. In case you see a tawny owl, make sure that you do not go near their nest or make them feel that you are a threat to their babies. Keep that in mind have a beautiful day!

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