Owls have a long history of having the privilege to portray mythical depictions in many cultures. Their silhouette and mysterious figure has been subject to different interpretations across the world.
In ancient Greece for example, owls had the honor to represent the Goddess of Wisdom Athena while the Wardaman Tribe in Australia had a spiritual belief that a great owl was responsible for creating the world, and in Japan they were seen as the emperors of the night that watch over the villages.
And let’s not forget their utilitarian function as the primary means of communication in the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
In the wild, owls are equally just as fascinating. Evolution has shaped the owl’s bodies and senses to make them precision hunters. Here are some interesting facts that you should look out for when you spot an owl in Bali Safari Park :
Owls are divided into two families based on the shape of their face. There is the Tytonidae which are owls that have a heart-shaped face, and there is also the Strigidae which are the traditional owls that have round-shaped faces.
Have you also noticed how flat their faces are? Owls’ faces are designed to direct sounds to their ears for extra precision in locating their prey. You can try this by cupping your hand behind your ears!
Fun fact: Harry Potter’s pet owl, Hedwig the snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus), has a traditional Strigidae or round-face.
This is one of the features everyone knows about the owls, but do you know how they do it? Owls are able to turn their heads because they have a blood-pooling system in their bodies that support their brains and eyes when they need to twist their neck.
They also have 14 vertebrae to support their bodies, that’s double the amount in normal birds.
Owls have special feathers that dampen the sound of their wings by breaking turbulence into smaller breaks. Their soft, velvet-like down provides further cushioning to muffle any noise. This makes them super silent hunters.
The most prominent feature of any owl are their eyes. In fact, their eyes account for up to 5% of their body weight. Their eyes are one of the most evolved parts of their bodies and are often regarded as having the best night vision of any owl.
Their eyes have evolved to the point where they are no longer ball-shaped, instead they are tubes that are held in place by a bony structure. Hence, why they can only look ahead and has to turn their entire head to look side to side.
Fun fact: an owl’s eye color indicates what time of day it likes to hunt. Owls with yellow eyes are diurnal, meaning they hunt in the day time.
Those with orange eyes are crepuscular that hunt during twilight. And owls with brown or black eyes are nocturnal that hunt at night.