Flying Barn Owl

About Owl Legs

Owls are famous for their hypnotic eyes, hooting sounds, amazing feathers, their rotating heads and nocturnal activities. It’s no wonder why so many books and movies feature them as being mysterious creatures of the night.

What owls are less known for are their long legs.

How Long Are Owl Legs?

The legs of most owl species are covered by feathers. Only a few show their bare legs, so it’s not a common sight. That’s why it comes as a surprise to many, when you lift the owl’s feathers, that the legs are almost half the size of its body.

A couple of years ago a photo, showing the legs of a quite annoyed looking owl, was shared on REDDIT and it received more than 80.000 (!) upvotes. Afterwards, the photo was featured in newspapers and magazines all over the world. This goes to show how spectacular a couple of owl legs are perceived as.

Owl with long legs

Owl legs, feet and talons

No doubt these long and strong legs are great accessories for any media-attention-seeking owl, but they also serve a more practical purpose.

An owl’s legs, feet, and talons are of large proportions and very powerful. For a flying hunter, this comes in very handy when it needs to catch, hold, kill and carry a prey.

Owls Attack With Strength

The grip strength is among the greatest of all raptors. All the way up to an impressive 500 psi (pounds-per-square inch). In comparison, to gain some perspective, humans only have about 100 psi. In other words; you don’t want to get on an owl’s bad side.

Owls use their strength to crush their prey immediately. It’s a common hunting technique among birds of prey, and quite effective. Some owls also hunt on the ground, such as the Burrowing Owl and the Great Horned Owl.

So as you can see, the length and the strength of their legs are not just for humans’ amusement. Once more you get reminded of why the owl is such a fascinating animal that never ceases to amaze people.

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...And A Bonus Video

Just because this little owl is so cute.