are owls the only nocturnal birds

Owls are so famous for their nighttime escapades, that the phrase “night owl” developed to describe people who stay up late. But the saying is actually a bit misleading because some owls are active daytime hunters, experts told Live Science.

During the daytime, while some owls are sleeping, the northern hawk owl (Surnia ulula) and the northern pygmy owl (Glaucidium gnoma) are hunting for meals, making them diurnal — that is, active during the daytime, said Marc Devokaitis, a public information specialist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York.

Moreover, its not uncommon to spot a snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) or burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) during the day, depending on the season and food availability, Devokaitis told Live Science.

Some owls are strictly nighttime owls, including the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) and barn owl (Tyto alba). And others hunt during both the day and night, as well as the crepuscular times of dawn and dusk, when many prey are active, the experts said.

“Owls dont quite as clearly fall into nocturnal and diurnal as some other animals, because a lot of them are active during the daytime and nighttime,” said Julie Ponder, a veterinarian and the executive director of The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.

The reason behind these varying sleep schedules largely has to do with prey availability, the experts said. For instance, the northern pygmy owl has a proclivity for songbirds, which are also awake during the day, the experts said. The northern hawk owl, which hunts during the day, as well as at dawn and dusk, eats small birds and voles and other diurnal animals.

See also edit

  • Crepuscular animals are those that are mostly active at dusk, which puts them in the same category as nocturnal animals.
  • Plant or animal behavior known as diurnality is defined as being active during the day and sleeping at night.
  • Cathemeral organisms are those that exhibit erratic and sporadic periods of activity either during the day or at night.
  • Matutinal: a group of organisms that are exclusively or mostly active in the early morning or before dawn
  • In biology, vespertine refers to a class of organisms that are mostly or exclusively active at night.
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Chronotype
  • List of nocturnal animals

The northern hawk owl (Surnia ulula) and the northern pygmy owl (Glaucidium gnoma) are diurnal, or active during the day, while other owls sleep. This information was provided by Marc Devokaitis, a public information specialist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York.

Because owls are so well-known for their antics at night, the term “night owl” was coined to characterize those who stay up late. However, experts told Live Science that some owls are active daytime hunters, so the saying is actually a little misleading.

Laura works at Live Science as the editor of Lifes Little Mysteries and archaeology. She also reports on general science, including paleontology. Her writing has been published in Popular Science, Scholastic, The New York Times, and Spectrum, an online resource for autism research. For her reporting at a weekly newspaper close to Seattle, she has received numerous awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Laura graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English literature. Louis and a masters degree in science writing from NYU. More about birds.

“A lot of owls are active during the day and night, so they don’t quite fit into nocturnal and diurnal categories as some other animals,” stated Julie Ponder, a veterinarian and the executive director of The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.

According to Devokaitis, depending on the season and food availability, it’s also normal to see a burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) or snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) during the day.

FAQ

Are owls the only birds that fly at night?

There are many birds that are active nocturnally. Some, like owls and nighthawks, are predominantly nocturnal whereas others do specific tasks, like migrating, nocturnally.

What kind of bird makes noise at night?

Whippoorwills, owls, sandpipers, mockingbirds, nightingales, killdeer, and loon are some of the birds that make noises at night.

Which of the following birds is nocturnal?

Owls are a large group of primarily nocturnal birds, whose feathers are specially adapted to make their flight as soundless as possible. Nightjars are medium-sized birds found across the world that feed heavily on insects and have very effective camouflage for protection during the day.

Which bird is called night bird?

A bird which is active at night is known as nocturnal, such as an owl, nightingale, etc.