Owl is the common name for several species of mostly nocturnal birds of prey that are found on every continent except Antarctica. Habitats vary by species, but they can be found in several different ecosystems from urban parks to woodlands. Perhaps the only place owls don't enjoy living is locked up in a cage like a character from "Harry Potter."
Snowy owls live in the tundras and grasslands of Asia, Europe and North America. Their white coats act as camouflage in the snow. Unlike other owls, snowy owls are active during the day. They spend the long arctic days hunting small mammals such as lemmings, voles, hares and mice. Migratory birds, they fly north in spring and south during the winter. In North America, they've been observed as far south as Louisiana and Texas when food is short in their usual homes.
Scops owls are found in central, western and southern Asia, southern Europe and parts of Africa. They avoid woodlands and heavily forested mountains and prefer lightly wooded, open areas with trees that grow alone or in small clusters. However, they are also found in bush-lands, parks, caves and even abandoned buildings. They hunt for large insects, voles, mice and small birds. They reportedly also go after lizards and frogs.
Eurasian Eagle Owl
Eurasian eagle owls are found in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Europe. They make their nests in rocky ledges or open ground in coniferous forests and deserts. They are active at dusk and the early evening and hunt voles, rats, fawns, foxes, cats, beetles, snakes, fish, crabs and other owls.
Barn owls are citizens of the world and can be found in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. They live in a wide range of habitats including plains, deserts, forests, cities and farmland. The name barn owl comes from their habit of nesting in abandoned buildings. However, they will also nest in hollow trees. Their favorite prey is smalls rodents, but they've been known to go after small birds as well.
Great Horned Owl
Known for its ear-shaped tufts of feathers, the Great Horned Owl is an American species of owl found in both North and South America from the Arctic to the Straits of Magellan. It is found in several different habitats including urban parks, semi-desert regions, woodlands, open country and just below the timberline high up mountain slopes. Great Horned Owls take a wide range of prey including birds, fish, scorpions, mice, jack rabbits and shrews.
- owl image by vashistha pathak from Fotolia.com