Owls – basic details

  • Owls are fascinating creatures, renowned for their silent flight, keen senses, and captivating eyes.

  • Diversity: Over 250 owl species exist worldwide, found on every continent except Antarctica.

  • Eyes: Forward-facing eyes for exceptional binocular vision and depth perception in the dark. Fixed eyes, so they turn their heads for a panoramic view (up to 270 degrees!)

  • Ears: Asymmetrically placed ears with facial discs to pinpoint sounds with incredible accuracy.

  • Habitat:Diverse,includingforests, deserts, mountains, and even urban areas.

  • Predators: Nocturnal hunters for the most part, but some species are diurnal or crepuscular.

  • DietPrimarily small mammals like rodents, but also insects, birds, fish, and reptiles.

  • Hunting: Silent flight, keen hearing, and sharp eyesight make them formidable hunters.

  • Mating: Monogamous pairs, often staying together for life.

  • Eggs: Lay 1-12 eggs, with parental care provided by both parents.

What enables owls to fly silently?

Wing Structure and Feather Design:

  • Large wings: Broad wings generate ample lift, allowing owls to glide effortlessly with minimal flapping, reducing noise.

  • Feathery fringe: Soft, hair-like feathers on the trailing edge of wings disrupt air turbulence, muffling the whooshing sound typical of bird flight.

  • Comb-like leading edges: Primary feathers have serrated edges that break down air into smaller, quieter vortices, preventing the loud "flutter" sound.

  • Velvety texture: Owl feathers have a velvety down layer that absorbs sound waves generated by air movement over the wings.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Owls UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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