of these articles concerns itself with the order of the owls (birds - Aves: Strigiformes); for the family of the owls (butterflies - Lepidoptera: To Noctuidae) see Eulenfalter.
Raufusskauz (Aegolius funereus)
Unterstamm: Vertebrate animals (Vertebrata)
row: Land vertebrate animals (Tetrapoda)
class: Birds (Aves)
subclass: Neukiefervögel (Neognathae)
order: Owls
scientific name
Wagler, 1830

the owls (Strigiformes) are an order of the birds (Aves), among which over 130 kinds are ranked.Representatives of the group are on all continents to find with exception of the Antarctic. Most kinds are night-active robbery birds, which are adapted to this way of life due to very own characteristics. Within the owls one differentiates the two families of the veil owls (Tytonidae) andthe actual owls (Strigidae).

Table of contents

the anatomical characteristicsthe owls

owls possess a very typical shape. As grab birds specialized in the nocturnal hunt owls differ from other kinds of bird by specific anatomical characteristics. The body penetrated and the head, compared with that of other birds, remarkably largelyand roundish. The bill of the owls is strongly curved and with sharp edges equipped.

Owls have large, forward arranged Tubularaugen with a relatively shortened Retina and a convex lens, which are surrounded by a long Tubus from Skleralknöchelchen.These eyes make it for them possible to see articles as well as their booty animals spatial and measure speeds and distances (binocular seeing). The eyes are immovable, instead the animals can turn their head up to 270°, whereby the visual field stronglyone extends. The eyes are protected by an upper and a lower lid as well as by a pitch skin, which can cover the eye.

Skelettkopf eines Uhus
Skeleton head of an eagle owl

during other kinds of bird usually small round ear openings, draw owls have throughschlitzförmige ear openings out, which are nearly as long as the addendum. These ear openings are arranged not symmetrically at the head, the right ear opening lie somewhat more highly. This asymmetry is differently strongly pronounced depending upon owl kind, with all however available. Many owlsin addition have one optically remarkable face veil, which directs the sound toward their ears. Together with the Federohren the face veil in the enemy and social contact serves also to express tendencies and is colored for this reason frequently remarkable. Mobile Ohrläppchenbefore and behind the ear opening are equipped with short, hard feathers/springs and support the noise detection. Likewise the noise detection supporting is compared with other kinds of bird broader heads. A lateral noise becomes thereby from an ear the fraction of one secondin former times perception.

In relation to the body weight owls have a large wing area. This makes a noiseless flight for owls possible. This is supported also by the fact that the flight feathers/springs of most kinds have a soft edge. The fish owls and fish eagle owl place the exception of it, which specialized in fish as food animals.

The foot of the owls possesses four toes, which are about equivalent long with the veil owls. With the actual owls the interior toe pointing to the rear is somewhat shortened. The outermost toe is as turning toe trained and can be turned both forward and to the rear. The normal position of attained full growth owls is thereby “zygodactyl”, thus with two forward and two toes pointing to the rear.

spreading and habitat

kinds of owl are world-wide with exception of the Antarctic as well as individual islands spreads. They settle nearly all kinds of habitats, of the dry and damp jungles over savannahs, Sumpfgebieten and forests up to the tundra. Most kinds in the tropical live and subtropical habitats of South America and Asia. The northern circulation area exhibits the snow owl , which is to be found north of Canada in the tundra north sibiriens, and even at the coasts of Greenland.

European kinds of owl

on the European continent are thirteen owls resident, whose circulation area includes however usually still large parts of Asia and also North America. They occupy thereby very different habitats and in specific Habitate specialized.

Particularly in northern Europe resident the snow owl is, ofall European owls furthest northward penetrate, as well as the Sperbereule, the Raufusskauz, the Habichtskauz and the Bartkauz. The eagle owl is the largest European owl, whose existence recover after century-long Bejagen gradually again. To its booty animalsheard also the forest ear owl, the short-eared owl and the Waldkauz, which occur still quite frequently.

Humans most familiarly the veil owl is probable, since she is an expressed culture follower. The smallest European owl is the Sperlingskauz. Onlydwarf ear owl and Steinkauz are a little larger.

way of life

quiescent behavior and flight

hunt ways

owls are particularly specialized in night-active booty animals as robbery birds. The hunt technology practiced by the owls is specific thereby,on the respective local conditions coined/shaped and also hive-dependently. Generally practice the kinds, which live a Ansitzjagd in the forest rather, with which they lurk from a control room on booty. Owls, which inhabit open landscapes, hunt by Pirschflüge, with thatthey from the flight their booty erspähen or erhören. The latter applies for example to the veil owl. This falls back however to the Ansitzjagd, if bad weather limits this Pirschflüge.

In addition many kinds of owl are skillful soil hunters, that are able,to catch up a mouse davonhuschende at the soil. The most typical booty acquisition action is however concentrated fixing of the booty of control room or from the flight, a deceleration of the flight direct before meeting with the booty, whereby the legs forwardto be stretched and the toes far spread and a rapid bitebite bite, while at the same time the booty with the strong catches is spread “milled” will and the wings in the so-called “catch position” the far over booty.

booty pattern

for thosemost kinds of owl are small mammals such as mice the preferential booty. To the booty spectrum belong however also fish, queues, earthworms, snails, bats, frogs, moths and large beetles. Many kinds of owl eat also carrion, which in particular Gewölle - investigations of the eagle owl it again and again also as a parasit to appear left, since even deer and deer components let themselves be proven.

Large owls hunt also different smaller kinds of owl. This does not apply in particular to the eagle owl, with the Waldkauz and forest ear owl for onean insignificant booty component constitute.

Starting from April or May the female puts to sieve four to, in exceptional cases up to twelve eggs on the naked soil of the NIST place. The matte-white eggs are put not at one time, but in distances of two or threeDays. The file the female begins right after to breed first ice. That has the consequence that the boys likewise slip after a breeding time of 32 to 34 days in distances of two to three days. So can betweenfor the youngest and the oldest young bird well 2 weeks disparity in age are appropriate. There is sufficient fodder in the hunting ground of parents, this disparity in age does not have a great importance. However if the food becomes limited, the younger and thus smaller young animals come with the wranglingaround the fodder always too briefly and can thereby even verhungern. Pretty often these are then fed even by their older brothers and sisters. To us humans may appear as very cruel, serves however the preservation of the kind. Two or three strengthens young birdshave in times with limited fodder naturally substantially better chances to still experience also the next years as five or six Kümmerlinge. The new generation becomes flügge at the age of approximately 60 days and is further 10 weeks later independently.

Alreadyat first sight the veil owl differs from other owls. Their remarkable herzförmiger face veil makes the animals unmistakable. This “face” is not rigid. Completely in the Gegensteil the veil owl can express fear, annoyance or for instance astonishment depending upon tendency.With closer Hinsehen the long pointed wings are noticeable, which tower above the tail in sitting around several centimeters, while forest-inhabiting owls possess short and rounded off wings. Among other things these special characteristics have the scientists in addition moved, the veil owls into oneown family, the Tytonidae, to divide.

The veil owl is a culture follower, who followed closely human settlements. Thus the animals inhabit old barns, church towers or older buildings. As hunting ground the night-active birds prefer open culture country with short vegetation howfor instance fields or Viehweiden. The food of the veil owls exists to 96% of small mammals such as field or pointed mice. Other birds, amphibians or insects are captured only to very small extent. In order to cover their daily nutritional requirements from 80 to 100 g,a veil owl per night catches about 4 to 5 mice.

Unfortunately the veil owl in our widths becomes ever more rarely. This is mainly because of the rapid decrease of breeding available space by change or modernization older buildings and church towers. The moreover become alsothe omission of ditches and Feldrainen in the modern agriculture also the booty animals such as mice, moles and rats dezimiert, thus a successful raising several young animals by missing food becomes ever more difficult. The veil owl stands therefore today already on thatred list of the threatened animal species.

hate reaction of other kinds of bird to owls

the Sperbereule resembles falcons in their appearance and solves with other birds therefore no hate reaction from

most kinds of owl possesses distinguishing features, which characterize it clearly as an owl.In addition belong the large spherical head with the eyes directed forward, the compact shape and the plustrige plumage. Other kinds of bird recognize therein their Fressfeind and react, if they discover owls in their hiding place during the daily, with aggressive behavior.This so-called “hating” of birds on owls makes itself humans occasionally until today too uses. Owls were reared up before the hiding place of the hunter and in such a way attracted birds were shot or with nets caught. Thus one used for example the Steinkauzto the catch of throttles and the eagle owl for the hunt for crows and grab birds. The way catching of young eagle owls for such hunt purposes led in some regions as for example the Black Forest to the fact that the existence of the eagle owls decreased/went back drastically. Today is these so-called. Hüttenjagd with living baits forbade.

To the kinds of owl, which do not release a hate reaction by other birds, because with them these optical distinguishing features are less strongly pronounced, count for example day and dawn-active Sperbereule. It resembles in its appearancerather kinds of falcon. While other owls rest during the day hidden, them prefer it visibly sitting far away in the treetops from dry trees to.

evolution and systematics

master history

due to the very bad preservation characteristics of bird bones, asfragile structures are substantially more sensitive than the bones of other vertebrate animals, are well-known of most groups of birds only very meager fossil finds. In addition the difficulty of the identification comes, since it gives to today no clear classification of the bone characteristics with birds.

It becomesassumed that the earliest owls emerged for the end of the chalk time forwards over 65 million years, however today no appropriate find is well-known until. The earliest proven owls originate from the Paläozän and the Eozän, thus the time interval before 65to 40 million years. The oldest well-known kind is thereby Ogygopteryx wetmorei from the Paläozän, which is an only representative of the family Ogygoptygidae and was found in Colorado , the USA. Also those altogether sieve so far admitted owl skeletons from thatEozän originate with an English exception from the USA (Wyoming and California). Everything these kinds not the two families assigned separate to form with a further kind from the early Oligozän, existing today , the family Protostrigidae.

Outthe lower Oligozän finally come the first skeleton finds of the actual owls (Strigidae), which were found particularly in a fossil horizon in Quercy in France. These are assigned to the become extinct kinds Necrobyas and Strygogyps, however became with Bubo incertus alsoRepresentative of the eagle owls and with Asio henrici a kind of the ear owls proven. The later finds from the Miozän belong all too today still existing kinds like the dwarf ear owls and the Käuzen. Also the earliest veil owls are in the Miozän,particularly in France and Italy. It concerns particularly representatives of the today still existing kind Tyto, besides however with Prosbybris antiqua also around one a become extinct kind. The mask owls were likewise with a kindin the Miozän in France present.

In the following epochs the finds of the fossil owls increase and it concern as far as possible representatives today still existing kinds. Owls from tropical regions dip as finds thereby only in the last twoMillionen Jahren (Pleistozän und Holozän) auf, da in diesen Gebieten die Verwesung und der Zerfall der Knochen durch die starke Feuchtigkeit beschleunigt wird und die Erhaltungschancen entsprechend gering sind. Also fossil finds of today's kinds are relatively frequent and comelikewise from the last two million years.


humans and owl

but faith approximately around the owl

face of the forest ear owl with the remarkable face veil

the owls with its remarkably large eyes, thatcheek-similar face surfaces, the bill reminding of a strongly bent nose and the upright attitude, differ so clearly from other bird kinds that there is very much different and partial contradictory superstition approximately around this bird family.

The but faith differentiates thereby rarelybetween the individual kinds of owl. For the superstition it is usually not important whether it concerns with the used owl feather/spring a dwarf ear owl or an eagle owl. As kind living to humans however those becomes nextVeil owl into superstitious rituals involves been its.

witch and devil bird

in the today popular book series Harry Potter of the authoress Joanne K. Rowling serve owls the witches and Zauberern as deliverers of messages and packages. This attachesan old, European-wide spread superstition to therefore the owl a “witch bird “is, which appears on witch meetings, which witches messenger services carries out and decorate themselves with its feathers/springs the witches. Owls accompany the savage army changed and the devil grandmotheritself into an owl. The owl is thereby in the superstition a dämonischer bird. In Italy one believed in the fact that their view kills.

owls as misfortune messengers

on the day is the owl to see rare - that happensnevertheless and even their call is to be heard during the day, then it will give or a conflagration to epidemics. In the Isergebirge their appearance refers in broad daylight only to rains.

Misfortune meant it also, if the Brautpaar on the way toChurch an owl is brought. A likewise far common but faith was that the call of the owl announces death.

The but faith in the owl as death messenger can be found also with Shakespeare. In its dramaJulius Cäsar “quitsOwl shouting the murder on.

And yesterday the bird
of the night sat even at noon on the market
and kreischt' and cried.

And also lady Macbeth hears the owl in the drama Macbeth, while their man murders the legal king:

- Quiet,horch! -
Die Eule war's, die schrie, der traur'ge Wächter,
Die gräßlich gute Nacht wünscht.

it gave in former times to witches excluding women, who were burned, also owls belongs to it

to owls as Glücksbringer

but faith is frequently regionally different; sothere are some regions, in which the owl shouting not announces the death but the birth of a child. Luck is to also bring it, if an owl flees itself into the pigeon impact.

the wise owl

the owl applies alsoas a bird of the wisdom; as such the Steinkauz is the Begleittier of the goddess Athene. To this call surely the manlike appearance of the owl contributed and the rigid, calm view of their eyes. In old Athens it gave once in such a waymany owl pictures and - statues in honours of Athene that the saying “owls carry to Athens “as synonym for a senseless action developed.

In many Kinderbüchern as for example with Pu of the bar and in Zeichentrickfilmen it dips with eyeglassesand gladly with book under the wing up, whereby their special wisdom is to be demonstrated.

Many student trade associations of physics and mathematics have the owl as a coat of arms animal.

net jargon

with the O RLY - owl has itself the owl meanwhilealso a firm place in the net culture suppl. corroding ore.


  • Jürgen Nicolai: Grab birds and owls, compass nature leader, Gräfe and Unzer publishing house, Munich 1987, ISBN 3774238057
  • Theodor Mebs, Wolfgang Scherzinger; The owls of Europe - biology, characteristic, existence,Cosmos publishing house, Stuttgart 2,000, ISBN 3-440-07069-7
  • John A. Burton (Hrsg); Owls of the world - development - figure - way of life, Neumann new dam publishing house Melsungen, 1986, ISBN 3-7888-0495-5
  • Wolfgang Epple; Owls - the mysterious birds of the night, Gräfe and Unzer publishing house,1994, ISBN 3-7742-1790-4
  • manual of the birds of Central Europe, volume 9, pages 463-501
  • Hölzinger/of meals: The birds of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Non--singing birds, volume 3, Ulmer - Stuttgart 2001, pages 168-194, ISBN 3-8001-3908-1
  • farmer/Berthold: The breeding birds of Central Europe. Existence and endangerment, AULA - Wiesbaden1997, sides 252f., ISBN 3-89104-613-8
  • Mebs: Owls and Käuze. All European owls and Käuze, Franckh Stuttgart 1987, pages 68-73, ISBN 3-440-05708-9
  • Hanns Bächtold Stäubli, Eduard Hoffmann Krayer (Hrsg): Hand dictionary of the German but faith, walter de Gruyter publishing house 1987, ISBN 3-11-011194-2 (unchanged ones more photo-mechanicallyReproduction of the expenditure of 1927), volume 2, keyword owls

Web on the left of

Commons: Owls - pictures, videos and/or audio files

  > German to English > de.wikipedia.org (Machine translated into English)