noun \ˈa(-ə)l\

: a bird that usually hunts at night and that has a large head and eyes, a powerful hooked beak, and strong claws

Full Definition of OWL

:  any of an order (Strigiformes) of chiefly nocturnal birds of prey with a large head and eyes, short hooked bill, strong talons, and soft fluffy often brown-mottled plumage

Origin of OWL

Middle English owle, from Old English ūle; akin to Old High German uwila owl
First Known Use: before 12th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any bird of prey in the mostly nocturnal order Strigiformes, including typical owls (family Strigidae) and barn, bay, and grass owls (Tytonidae). Their virtually silent flight and protective (usually brown) coloration aid in capturing insects, birds, and small mammals. Owls have round, forward-looking eyes, a sharply hooked beak, and acute hearing and vision. They are 5–28 in. (13–70 cm) long. The feathers of some species form a disk framing the face or ear tufts that help locate prey by reflecting sound to the ears. Owls can turn their heads 180°; some species can turn as much as 270°. They nest in buildings, in trees, or on the ground. Typical owls occur worldwide except in Antarctica. See also horned owl; screech owl; snowy owl.


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