Optics Mag is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Read more.

Do Owls Sleep on Their Stomach?

Last Updated on

white owl sleeping eyes closed

Even though you’re probably aware of owls and some of their hunting activities, you might not know much about their sleeping habits in general. Owls are unique birds with flat faces and large heads. If you’ve heard the rumor that owls sleep on their stomachs, know that it is only half true. Most adult owls sleep standing up with their heads either facing forward or backward while in their nest. The baby owls sometimes sleep flat on their stomachs because they can’t hold up their large heads for long periods. It is a bit strange, but this phase doesn’t last long. You’ll be happy to know that there is some even more interesting information about the sleeping habits of these birds.

owl divider 2

Do Owls Sleep?

Owls are, for the most part, nocturnal animals. Some are active during the day, but it’s not very common. Sleep is vital for the health of almost every living thing on this planet. Owls and birds require about 12 hours of sleep per day.

As nocturnal animals, owls tend to sleep during the day and become active at night. They do take short naps, and they may be active during the day if there is a predator around. While they do sleep, they don’t sleep quite the same as many mammals.

Owls sleep with half of their mind awake and the other half asleep. When they stay half-awake, they are able to protect themselves from nearby predators.

How Do Owls Sleep?

Baby owls, also called owlets, have a very unique way of sleeping. Adult owls sleep similar to other birds. Their heads are kept forward while they stand on one or both legs and grip tightly to a tree branch. Owlets, on the other hand, tend to sleep face down on their belly. They sleep like this because their heads are too heavy for their juvenile muscles to hold. As the owlets gain strength and control over their bodies, they start to sleep with their heads up like their parents.

sleeping-owl-8790271

Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

Where Does an Owl Sleep?

Owls are solitary animals and do not live or sleep together once they leave the nest. There are only a few species of owls that sleep in groups in the winter. Owls usually sleep alone near their nests or a branch of a tree during the breeding season. Almost anywhere else is up for grabs for the rest of the year. They can be found in hollow trees, buildings, chimneys, and other similar places.

Do Any Owls Sleep at Night?

Most owl species do not sleep at night, but a few different species still do. Most of these animals do their hunting at night. Some birds also hunt during the day. The best time to spot an owl, though, is at night while they are out looking for their next meal. This time of day is the prime opportunity for them to use their impressive night vision to sneak up on their prey.

Conclusion

The statement that owls sleep on their stomachs is only half true. The owlets do sleep face down while they’re young. However, mature adults are strong enough to hold up their massive heads while they rest. This sleeping position is fairly unique in the bird world and something that most people don’t know about these amazing predators.


Featured Image Credit:  zoosnow, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

Robert Sparks Profile Picture