Why Do Owls Click Their Beaks? (Everything You Need To Know)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Owls have a lot of personalities. They use many body languages to express various messages.

You’d most likely notice these birds yawning and stretching in the morning. They also exhibit some incredible characteristics that will leave you wowed.

Owls have also been observed clicking their beaks. Have you ever wondered why they do that? Let’s have a look.

Why Do Owls Click Their Beaks?

Why Do Owls Click Their Beaks

Owls click their beaks when they feel threatened. This sound can also be made when they are attempting to protect their territory or possessions.

This act is frequently accompanied by neck stretching. They may even go so far as to raise their foot.

Some even can erect their feathers and wings. I believe they’re simply expressing how much they mean “GO AWAY”.

This is simply a warning to intruders. They are simply attempting to keep the intruder at bay.

However, other birds like parrot click their beaks to show happiness and pleasure.

The sound of a beak clicking is a sharp, steady “clicking.” The upper and lower mandibles are snapped together quickly.

Continue reading for more information on this topic.

What Does It Mean When Owls Click Their Beaks

When owls click, it means they are trying to defend their territory. It could also mean that they are protecting their mates or other possessions.

Other sounds made by owls indicate different emotions. An example is the owls’ bark. They do this when they are scared or astonished.

Yeah, these scary birds do get scared as well.

We will talk more about the different sounds made by these birds as we go on. So, keep reading.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on owls having good hearing

How Do You Tell If An Owl Is Stressed?

Owls, like humans, experience stress as well. And, they display several signs when they are stressed.

One of such signs is panting. They pant when they are stressed. This is caused by overheating which comes from being stressed.

They also make high-pitched noises known as twittering noises when stressed. Often, a stressed owl would take a variety of protective positions.

And usually, their pupils will show some changes in size as well.

Other signs of a stressed owl include,

  • Their bodies become stiffened.
  • They would hold up their feathers held upright.
  • They would flap their gular.

What causes stress in owls? Let’s have a look.

Overcrowding can cause an owl to be stressed. Also, pairings of larger owls with smaller owls can stress them out. Juvenile owls, in particular, may become stressed as a result of this.

Frequent human touch can cause stress as well. Because they regard man as a predator. They will undoubtedly be uneasy.

What Owl Makes A Clicking Sound?

A clicking sound is made by the eastern screech owl. The sounds are typically quiet and low in pitch.

However, this sound, might get louder. This primarily indicates that they are engaged in territorial disputes with other screech owls.

The clicking sound is also made by barn owls. However, these species use these sounds to attract the attention of its mate.

Barn Owls, however, are more likely to hiss if their nest is disrupted by intruders or predators when they feel endangered.

How Can You Tell If An Owl Is Happy?

Birds’ emotions are typically expressed through sound. Owls are vocal in the same way that all other birds are. And the noises they produce convey a vast range of emotions. 

When owls are delighted or contented, they will usually purr. It is unquestionably an indication that your owl is content or happy. 

Owls are not often affectionate. Hence, their facial expressions can be misleading in determining their mood. 

Therefore, it is best to pay close attention to the sound they make at all times. That’s the only way to determine their mood.

Owls use their noises to indicate their different emotions like stress, happiness, anger, and fear.

Also check out this article I wrote on why owls camouflage

What Kind Of Sound Does An Owl Make?

Owls are well-known for their hooting calls. The “hoot” is sometimes referred to as “The Sound of Owls.” Owls of both sexes are known to hoot. But, not all species of owls hoot.

However, studies have found that male hooting is usually deeper. Well, that sounds familiar – it remains me of us – humans. Human Males also have deeper voices than females.

Owls frequently start hooting about dusk. And it normally lasts until almost midnight.

Hooting may resume momentarily before sunrise. Their hoots can usually be heard from a long-distance away.

But why do birds hoot? Let’s clear your curiosity.

Hoots are commonly used to communicate and transmit information. Owls mostly hoot to mark their territory. They also hoot to ward off would-be attackers.

Hoots can also be employed to alert a predator’s presence.

Here’s something that would be of interest to you: hooting is utilized as a form of communication between married pairs.

According to research, these birds generally perform a duet together to confirm their commitment — how sweet. As part of a mating display, they may clap their wings in flight.

These birds are also known to make other sounds as well. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Tongue Clicking: Have you ever clicked your tongue against the roof of your mouth? If you have, that’s pretty much the same sound an owl makes when it clicks its tongue.

These birds frequently click their tongues as part of a threat demonstration. This is not like our pet birds, such as parrots. When a parrot is secure or wanting your attention, it will click its tongue.

Screeches: When threatened, owls will sometimes screech. When fighting threatening creatures, great horned owls, for example, will make high-pitched owl noises.

Barks: I’m sure this sounds strange. Dogs are the only creatures that are known to bark. Is it feasible for an owl to perform the same?

Well, yes, owls do bark. Their barks, however, are incomparable to those of dogs. They simply make sounds quite similar to that of dogs.

Owls bark when they are startled or scared. This sound is delivered in short, quick bursts, usually to frighten off potential threats. Their barking can only be heard from a short distance away.

Owl barks can be heard at any time of day or night; an owl will bark if it is terrified or threatened. However, not all owl species are known to bark.

Growls: An owl will growl to repel predators. These growling usually indicates that they’re not up for jokes. And they can get aggressive at this point.

Growling owls frequently elevate their neck feathers and other feathers. This indicates that they are prepared to battle.

Purring: This is a growling-like sound. However, it is not as loud as growling. It also has a less forceful ring to it.

Males make this sound to entice a female to explore a nesting place. Females, on the other hand, utilize it to beg males for food.

Hissing: Owls hiss at intruders or predators that disturb the nest. Barn Owls are usually known to make hissing sounds.

These owls do not hoot the way other owls do. The barn owl would usually hiss loudly at intruders or predators that disturb the nest. This usually last for about 3-4 seconds.

Do Owls Click Their Beaks When They Want To Mate?

Yes, they do. However, not all owls click their beaks for mating purposes. Owls that click their beaks for this purpose include the barn owl.

During mating season, owls utter a loud screech. This is the medium by which they attract a mate. It is widely assumed that an owl’s screech sounds exactly like a screaming human lady.

One species known to pair for life is the barn owl. They frequently use the same nesting place year after year.

They also have extensive courtship rituals like courtship flights, food offerings, and calls. Every spring, this is normally done to rebuild their pair bond.

Do They Click Their Beaks When Hungry?

Owls don’t click when they are hungry. They would do so when threatened.

But, for the record, owls are great predators. They have eyes and ears that are specifically built for hunting. Their feathers, interestingly, allow them to fly almost silently.

Because most owls are nocturnal, they hunt all night. They prey on smaller creatures like rodents, tiny birds, and fish.

Owls typically consume their prey whole. These birds forage in the desert and other open areas. They can even hunt in complete darkness.


Owls are super interesting birds. They have amazing ways of conveying their emotions. Clicking their beaks is one way they express their emotions.

Owls would click their beaks when they feel threatened. Clicking their beaks is their way of expressing displeasure when threatened.

They can also make this sound when are trying to protect their territory or possession.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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