How Do Owls Sleep? Owls Sleeping Facts | Timings | Habits & Various Ways Of Sleep

Sleep is essential human behavior that helps to keep us fresh and active throughout our working hours.

A night or two without sleep can hamper our productivity and activeness to a great extent. Is extremely important for us to take a sound sleep every night.

Not only humans sleep is alive very important for birds and animals. Mostly all birds and animals complete their sleeping cycle to remain active and quick throughout their active hours.

Most birds like humans sleep during the night in the dark and wake up during the daytime.

The sleeping behavior of owls is very interesting as they sleep throughout the day and stay active at night. Read below to know more about the sleeping habits of owls.

Do Owls Sleep?

Yes, Owls do sleep like other ordinary birds. Sleeping is one of the most essential things required to survive and live a comfortable life.

It is not possible for many birds to live without sleeping at regular intervals and the owl is no exception to this.

Sleeping patterns and behavior of different animals and birds can vary as per their anatomy and evolution unfolding over the years.

The sleeping pattern and behavior of owls is an interesting case as it is quite different as compared to other common birds.

It is very rare that you find owls during the daytime. Owls are nocturnal birds meaning that they are highly active during nighttime and sleep when the whole world is out busy during the daytime.

The owl body and brain are wired in such a way that allows them to sleep during the daytime. One of the major factors that helps them to survive during nighttime is their eyes.

The eyes of owls are crafted in such a way that it becomes possible for them to see clearly during nighttime.

The eyes of owls and other nocturnal birds and animals are known to have some light emitting cells in their eyes allowing them to glow during the dark.

These glowing cells allow them to hunt and protect themselves from predators during the nighttime in the wild. Many other animals and birds like cats, raccoons, bats, scorpions, and many more.

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What are the ways and behavior of owls during sleep? 

The story of owls and their sleeping behavior is quite interesting. During daytime when the sun is out owls are generally sleepy while keeping there in the upward direction.

Generally, most of the owls will hold a tree branch with one leg or sometimes use both of their legs.

The claws of owls help them by providing a firm grip on the tree branches while they are in deep sleep.

Generally, you will find that most of the owls sleep with one eye wide open as during most times of their periods of sleep their half body and mind are active.

This is an evolutionary trait that helps them to protect themselves from any danger in the wild like bad weather, predators, and much more.

During sleep, their half-active brain helps them in generating reflex actions that can act as a defense mechanism in case of an attack from predators.

Well, the sleeping pattern of almost all varieties of owls are similar i.e nocturnal sleeping behavior. But it is also common that you find owls in your area or in the wild during the daytime too.

Many owls sleep for short durations i.e. take periodical naps that help them to remain active. In many cases, they may hunt in a day or may go out to collect things for their nest in the daylight. So, in some cases, you may witness owls out there in the day.

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What are the sleeping behaviors of baby owls?

Baby owls have an interest in bowing down their head while sleeping. It happens due to the heavyweight of their head and weak muscles. The neck muscles are not strong enough to support the head in earlier stages of their life.

As baby owls grow in shape and size their muscles build stronger and they start sleeping with their heads in the upward direction.

Where can you spot owls sleeping?

Owls are strange birds and show peculiar behavior in their surroundings. You will rarely found owls sleeping and going out in company. Owls are loner birds and mainly remain alone during most of their time.

It is a general habit of owls to sleep in isolation from other owl birds and even all day-to-day works are carried by themselves.

Some very rare breeds of owl are found to sleep in the company of their partners during various seasons of cold.

Another interesting fact is that you will not see owls sleeping in their nests. This is a very common thing for owls that they do not sleep in their nests and sleep outside of them. 

Another reason is that owls are less confident in building nests as they are poor constructors. They often attack the nests of other birds during breeding seasons to keep their eggs.

The place where various owls sleep is known as the roost. Owls can be spotted in various different types of roosts ranging from treetops to hidden areas. Some of the common places where you can spot owls sleeping are-

  • Various branches of long trees
  • Short branches and tree hunks
  • At treetops between the green leaves to protect themselves from predators
  • In  the hollow areas inside various trees
  • In areas hidden from humans
  • Unfrequented places in buildings and houses
  • Caves and dark areas in the mountains
  • Old houses 

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Where Do Snowy Owls Sleep?

Snowy owls sleep in various ranges of mountains in the North. They can be found sleeping in other places like branches of trees that grow in the mountains of the North pole, hilltops, valleys, and inside mountain caves that are generally warm.

Snowy owls got their name as they live in the regions of the north pole that experiences snow during the year and are highly adaptive to such conditions.

The general sleeping pattern and behavior of snowy owls in very similar to common owls.

Do Owls Migrate?

Owls are not migratory birds. You will not find owls migrating from one place to another in search of food and other resources.

Owls generally live in trees in fixed surroundings and have their food sources sorted out in the habitat. In very extreme cases of food shortage or dangerous predators, they may migrate out from their conditions.

They like to live in similar habitats without allowing many changes and one such proof for this is that owls store their foods for extreme seasons like winter. It allows them to stay in their habitat keeping themselves warm without going out into the cold.

Can Owls sleep at Night?

As mentioned above Owls are generally nocturnal animals and sleep in the daylight but some varieties of owls are found to sleep in the night.

Most varieties are nocturnal and are generally active throughout the night.

How do owls hunt and stay active during Nighttime?

It is strange for people like us to understand how nocturnal birds can stay active during nighttime. The owls are mostly engaged in activities like hunting throughout the night. 

It is strange to know that being nocturnal animals owls also hunt other nocturnal animals in the wild. One of the interesting things about owls hunting abilities is their secretiveness.

They are very secretive and silent during nighttime and with the help of their night vision and highly sensitive ears can hunt very easily.

The attacks from owls are very surprising for their prey as they make negligible sounds and do not leave any option for the prey to defend.

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Can You Keep Owl As A Pet?

No, owls are not good birds to be kept as a pet. Owls are known to be social and silent birds but they make very bad pets. Throughout the history of the birds, there are no records of owls being kept as pets throughout different civilizations.

There are many factors that hinder owls from being proper pets. I have described some of them in the section below-

Their sleep cycle is one of the reasons that they can not be tamed and kept as pets.

They stay awake through the night when everyone sleeps. It can become very difficult for the pet owner to manage and take care of the bird in his/her sleeping hours.

Owls do not like to sleep in nests or closed areas like cages. It can become very difficult for them to survive and adapt to the cages. The owner can experience a lot of difficulty in making the birds sleep.

Owls are carnivores and a major portion of their diet includes rodent animals like rats. It can become quite tough to provide them daily with rodents.

In many cases, owls are known to even attack human beings badly. The owner may get hurt from an owl if kept in open.

It is interesting and fun to watch these birds from a distance in open trees, gardens, and in the wild but keeping them as pets is not a good idea.


Owls are interesting birds with curious sleeping habits. They sleep during the day and remain active during the night. They hunt with secrecy leaving no option for their prey to defend.

Most owls sleep with their heads upward and are carnivore animals. Owls are not known to be good pets.

Observing the behavior and life of these nocturnal birds is fun and keeps people engaged with nature. It is not a good idea to keep nocturnal birds as pets.

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