Why Do Owls Hunt at Night? (Explained for Beginners)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

All Owls have particular traits that enable them to be effective predators. Even on nights, their keen eyesight allows them to detect prey.

Voles, for example, are more active at dawn and dusk, and owls hunt on them. There is no competition from other predators when hunting at night.

Sensitive, directional hearing aids in the detection of hidden prey. Some species can hunt in total darkness, relying solely on sound to direct them to a successful kill.

Special wing feathers block the sound of air rushing across the wing surface, making an Owl’s flight quiet.

This allows an Owl to hunt invisibly, catching their prey off guard. It also enables the Owl to listen for prey movement while still in the air.

How do owls hunt at night?

Why Do Owls Hunt at Night


The capacity to fly silently is possessed by the majority of owls, giving them a great advantage over their prey.

Their feathers are responsible for their quiet flight. In comparison to other birds, owls have bigger feathers.

Owls’ flapping is minimized and practically noiseless when combined with the serrated edges at the end of their wings.

Until the owl has the prey in its hands, the prey is unaware that they are being hunted.


Owls are nocturnal animals who spend the majority of their time hunting at night. They are one of the rare nocturnal birds that hunt only with their eyes.

An owl’s huge statue is one of its distinguishing characteristics, and it is this size that allows them to see their prey in the dark.

Because owls have a huge eye in a small skull, their eyes are tube-shaped.

It prevents them from moving their eyes, but it does allow them to swivel their heads and identify prey from afar.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on owls and bad luck


Owls rely on their hearing when they can’t see their prey.

Their ears are asymmetrical, allowing them to locate their prey solely through hearing.

An owl will turn their head until the sound reaches both of its ears simultaneously.

Talons and Beak

In addition to their vision and hearing aid that helps them track their prey, the strength of their talons and beaks provides then extra power that allows them to catch it.

The talons of an owl can be rather powerful, depending on the size of the owl and the size of its prey.

An owl’s keen claws and beak enable them to easily capture and kill their prey.

Do most owls hunt at night?

Nocturnal owls are fearsome hunters who prey at night.

Owls, unlike other raptors, are primarily nocturnal, hunting at night when other raptors are sleeping.

As a result, owls and other raptors can share an area and are less likely to compete with one another.

Although most owls hunt only at night when their preferred prey is active, we do have a few that work the 9-to-5 shift.

Burrowing owls are the only owls that build their nests underground in North America.

Also check out this article on owls and how they see at night

What feature helps owls hunt at night?

All Owls have particular traits that enable them to be effective predators.

Even on dark evenings, their keen eyesight allows them to find quarries.

They are also equipped with sensitive, directional hearing aids that detect hidden prey.

Some species can hunt in total darkness, relying solely on sound to direct them to a successful kill.

Some owls’ ability to hunt in the dark is due to more than just their hearing capabilities.

Sedentary behaviours go hand in hand with their sensory abilities.

Individuals occupy a hunting region in which they operate night after night, according to the research of Tawny Owls in England.

The owls’ ability to pounce on prey appears to be dependent on their familiarity with the environment, particularly the heights of favoured perches above the ground.

Hearing aids in the replacement of sight, but intimate knowledge of the environment completes the picture.

Why do barn owls hunt at night

There is no competition from other predators when hunting at night.

Finally, due to their slow flight, they would be vulnerable to daylight predators such as Goshawks while quartering a field in search of prey.

Hunting at night was safer. Long-eared owls are nocturnal hunters.

Why do long-eared owls hunt at night?

Yes, the Long-eared Owl is mostly a night hunter. They are active before dusk on occasion, especially while nursing young.

When hunting, they fly low to the ground. They swoop down and catch prey with their sharp talons after locating it by sound or sight.

Long-eared owls hunt for mice, bats, and other small animals at night.

Why do owls hoot at night

One of the most common explanations for owls hooting at night is to demonstrate authority over their domain.

The most common behaviour of male owls is to hoot over their area. They enjoy telling other males how to respect their personal space.

Owls have a strong sense of territoriality and are well-known for their hunting abilities.

They’re defending their area against other Owls. They screech or bark lowly when they feel threatened or need to defend their territory.

Hooting to attract a partner and start establishing a territory.

Because most owls, but not all, are nocturnal species, they chose nighttime as their official hooting period.

The majority of the hunt and establish territory at night. This is because their senses are robust enough to allow them to survive at night.

It’s also simpler for them to pursue nocturnal prey and evade most predators at night.


The majority of an owl’s waking hours are spent looking for food. Carnivores, or meat-eaters, are found in many owl species.

Many owl species eat small rodent-like creatures like voles and mice as their principal diet.

Frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, mice, rabbits, birds, squirrels, and other animals may be found in an owl’s diet.

Great Horned Owls may occasionally find skunks tasty enough to eat.

Some owls, such as the Flammulated Owl, feed virtually solely insects. Insectivores are animals that devour insects.

The hunting behaviours of owls are influenced by their surroundings.

As a result, their prey and hunting strategies will differ depending on the locale.

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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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