Incredible Pictures of Owls with Freshly Caught Prey
They are an ancient group of birds, with fossils of some living varieties dating back over 20 million years. A species does not survive that long without being efficient at finding food – in this case prey – and owls are indeed exceptional hunters and top carnivores. Owls’ appetite for rodents, in particular, has helped maintain a natural balance in the ecosystem, and in many cases it has made them friends to farmers. Here, we’re going to take a look at these incredible creatures, while delving into some facts about their predatory habits. Previously, we’ve shown you adorable pictures of baby owls. Now it’s time to explore a rather less cute side to these birds – through photographs of them with freshly caught kills. As it rises gracefully into the air, we can see how the barn owl pictured here got one of its nicknames: the ghost owl. Here, it does look almost ethereal, but for the hapless rodent gripped in its beak, this flying predator is of course all too real. The furry catch looks like it might be a field mouse, one of the barn owl’s staple foods along with other small creatures like frogs, bats and even baby rabbits. To catch a ringtail possum like this, it would take a pretty powerful owl. And, with a name that’s true to its nature, that’s exactly what this magnificent bird is: a powerful owl, the largest owl species in Australia! It’s not just small mammals that need to worry either; powerful owls are strong enough to pull another owl apart should the intruder foolishly fly into its territory. In fact, a large part of this owl’s diet is made up of other birds, as well as marsupials like sugar gliders and koalas. This is definitely one owl we wouldn’t want to tangle with. Here, another barn owl flies off with its catch. The wingspan of a female barn owl is around 110 cm (43 in), while the males are slightly smaller, measuring 107 cm (42 in) across. Although they tend to be nocturnal, barn owls do also hunt at dawn and dusk and can sometimes be seen during the day. So, there aren’t many safe times for small rodents to be out and about if one of these birds of prey is in the area. Sure, this little owl may be cute, but its beady stare lets you know it’s pretty tough as well. This northern pygmy owl has managed to hunt down an impressively sized rodent (in comparison to itself, anyway). Unlike many other owl species on this list, the pygmy owl prefers the ‘sit and wait’ approach to capturing prey. When hunting other birds, they crash into their prey, Angry Birds style, often while the unsuspecting victims are still sitting in shrubs.