Because of their predominantly nocturnal habits, owls are still a mystery for most people. Even for the most committed birdwatchers, they are well disguised and almost silent, making them difficult to detect. How do owls sleep if they’re up all night? We’ll examine owls’ sleeping patterns and provide some frequently asked questions in this essay.


By closing their eyes, owls may rest upright and perched on a limb. Before sleeping, they’ll attach their talons to branches and have a tight grip. Until they bend or stretch their legs, their back toes, known as the hallux, remain closed.

When sleeping, a number of birds rest their beak and face against their back feathers, nuzzling them. Owls, on the other hand, are unable to do this since their neck is different. Instead, they simply shut their eyes. Even though most owls sleep facing forward, they may sometimes lie their heads backwards.


To conserve and maintain their energy for food hunting and reproduction activities, owls, like other birds, need approximately 12 hours of sleep. Even within 11 seconds, these birds may fall asleep.

Owls have a number of predators, including foxes, eagles, and wildcats, despite the fact that they are birds of prey. As a result, they must stay half-awake while they sleep and typically nap for a few minutes at a time.


The majority of owls will rest in tree crevices or on tree limbs at its heart. They seek out areas with low activity and noise, as well as protection from predators and humans, when they are nesting or sleeping.

Owls may be seen sleeping on cliff ledges or in abandoned structures in addition to trees. They like to lie around in nice hunting locations so they can begin hunting as soon as they wake up.

While most owl species roost alone or close to their nest during the breeding season, some species roost in groups and use communal resting sites. Long-eared owls, for example, may rest in pairs of two to twenty.

Snowy owls and short-eared owls are two owl species that create nests on the ground. One species known to utilize abandoned squirrel nests is the big horned owl.


Most owls are nocturnal, and during the day, they sleep while hunting at night. Lizards, frogs, snakes, fish, rabbits, birds, mice, and squirrels are their primary sources of food.

The barn owl and the great horned owl are both strictly nocturnal species. Others, on the other hand, are diurnal and wake up during the day and retire at night. Depending on the availability of food, some species alternate between hunting during the day and night.

During the day, you may have a lot of success seeing owls that don’t sleep during the day:

  • The northern hawk owl is a species of bird in the Strigidae family.
  • The northern pygmy owl is a common sight in the tree canopy.
  • Snowy owl
  • Burrowing owl


Baby owls (or owlets) find it difficult to sleep upright because their heads are still too heavy for them to support up. Instead, they sleep by lying on their tummies and turning their heads to the side. Before lying down on their stomachs, if they are on a branch, they will strongly grip the branches with their talons.

Owlets sometimes rest their heads by leaning against siblings or the sides of the nest to support them. They develop stronger neck muscles and general fitness as they grow, allowing them to sleep upright with their head weight. Sleeping owls take multiple short naps and are resistant to disturbance, even for food.


They almost certainly will! Owls, like people, experience REM sleep, according to researchers. We have similar brain activity to that of being awake while sleeping in the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage.

The only non-mammal species known to experience REM sleep is birds. Moreover, just like in human babies, they found that REM sleep decreases as the owlets grow older.


Unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, in which half of the brain remains awake while the other half rests, is characteristic of owls. The eye associated with the portion of their brain that is still awake will stay open when they are in this condition. This enables them to stay aware of impending threats while sleeping, giving them an advantage when escaping predators.

These birds have the ability to determine if they want one half of their brains to sleep while the other half remains awake and alternates sleeping with it. As a result, sleeping owls will not always be seen with one eye open.


The majority of owls will sleep in trees, either perched on a limb or tucked into holes. Owlets, on the other hand, can’t keep their heads up in this position, so they rest on their belly and side.

There are various owl species that may be seen flying about hunting food while the others rest, while others sleep during the day.

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