One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A nocturnal bird of prey with large eyes, a facial disc, a hooked beak, and typically a loud hooting call.
Order Strigiformes: families Strigidae (typical owls such as tawny owls and eagle owls) and Tytonidae (barn owls and their relatives)
- ‘The nocturnal owls, nightjars, and allies often are poorly known, and very few species have been studied in detail.’
- ‘Common predators of house sparrows include cats and other mammalian predators, birds of prey, and owls.’
- ‘Short-eared Owls are medium-sized owls with mottled brown and buff plumage.’
- ‘Like most owls, Great Horned Owls have keen hearing and keen vision in low light, both adaptations for hunting at night.’
- ‘In a peak year for hares, the hares edged out the voles as a source of meat for both adult owls and their owlets.’
- ‘In winter, when invertebrates are scarce, owls that remain at northern latitudes take largely vertebrate prey.’
- ‘Boreal Owls, known in Eurasia as Tengmalm's Owls, are small owls of the north.’
- ‘What concerns bird lovers is that owls are birds of prey - and they don't make good pets.’
- ‘The Barn Owl is a gray-and-tawny owl with a white, heart-shaped face and dark eyes.’
- ‘And most important, the trees are homes for small animals like squirrels and chipmunks, and birds like owls and robins.’
- ‘In truth, owls are magnificent birds, hunters of the dark that keep dangerous rodent populations well in check.’
- ‘Flammulated Owls are small owls with short ear-tufts that can be held erect or flush to the head.’
- ‘One element is the bird's facial disc, also found in other owls but best developed in the super-eared barn owl.’
- ‘The night was still and no sound was heard, apart from the occasional hoot of the owl, the master of the shadows.’
- ‘In the ever-present darkness that shrouds Dudleytown Hill, owls are said to hoot throughout the day.’
- ‘As raptors like hawks and owls prey on the rodents, they risk being hit by a car.’
- ‘The crickets chirped, and the owls hooted, praising natures majesty.’
- ‘The noise reduction achieved from the tattered fringe makes owls the quietest flying birds, Lilley said.’
- ‘An owl hooted and the sound reverberated off into the night, fading away into the distance until silence resumed once more.’
- ‘The great majority of past studies in this area have been on birds of prey and owls.’
- 1.1informal A person who habitually goes to bed late and feels energetic in the evening.Often contrasted with lark
- ‘Ideally, people should wake at the same time everyday, but being an owl, you can probably cope quite well when your sleep pattern is disrupted.’
- ‘Charlie is more of an owl - he likes to stay awake as long as he can at night and to take his time waking in the morning.’
Old English ūle, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch uil and German Eule, from a base imitative of the bird's call.
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