How Far Can an Owl See – During Day or Night

Owls not only are known to be excellent hunters but are also known for their cute, large eyes.

But how far can these big eyes actually see?

In this article we will see just how far Can Different types of owls see and exactly why they can’t they see so well either during the day or at night.

How far can an Owl see?

Owls are far-sighted, meaning they cannot see anything close to them. Owls can see larger prey like rabbits from over a mile away and smaller prey such as mice from about half a mile away.Their vision is weaker in daytime and much stronger at night. Owls can see three times better than humans at night.

Tawny owls are said to have the best vision closely followed by the Great Horned and Snowy Owl. Barn and Barred Owls are thought to be on the lower end of the spectrum.

How far can an owl see during the day?

Owls have much weaker vision during the daytime, their eyes are very sensitive and the light intensity means it is more difficult for them to see. They are still able to see during the day, to hunt they do so from trees several metres high.

This way they can narrow their eyes and block out some of the sunlight, thus allowing them to focus on small prey on the ground which they can focus on clearly.

How far can an owl see during the night?

During the night, an owl can see clearly for about a mile, their resolution being much clearer than humans. It is a myth that owls can rotate their heads 360degrees, but they still have a very large field of view.

Owls have a binocular vision of 70 degrees and they cannot move their eyes, but they can move their head an impressive 270 degrees. So in total, they can see a mile away for 270 degrees around themselves without moving their body.

Why can owls see so well?

The reason that owls can see so well is because of the types of receptors that they have in their eyes. Owls have a lot of rod receptors in their eyes, these receptors focus on black and white vision, meaning that they have very detailed vision, particularly in darkness.

Their large eyes also help with vision as they have wider pupils so can take in more light rays.

How far can an owl see its prey

Owls have great vision, but they often hunt very small prey, so how far away are they able to see their prey?

How far can an owl see a mouse

Certain species of owls have been known to see prey as small as a mouse from half a mile away. However when hunting ,owls do rely heavily on their hearing, so it is difficult to tell how clearly an owl can see from this distance and how much of it is based off of hearing.

How far can an owl see a rabbit

During the night, it is thought that owls have been able to spot rabbits from between a mile to two miles away. This number is not confirmed and it does vary depending on the species of owl, but it is still a very impressive distance.

How far can an owl see a snake

Owls do consume snakes, but it is not a main component of their diet so their hunting methods to catch snakes have been studied less. Owls hunt snakes mostly by relying on their sense of hearing but based on other measurements they should be able to see snakes from about half a mile away.

How far can different types of Owls see

Now that we’ve established how good an owl’s eyesight is, what’s the difference in the vision of different owl breeds?

How far can a tawny owl see

Tawny owls are medium sized animals that are very common in wooded areas. A tawny owl has a larger field of view than most birds of prey, having a field overlap of 70%. There is debate about how sensitive the tawny owl’s vision is, people claiming it to be from anywhere between 10 times to 100 times as strong as a human’s.

How far can a snowy owl see

Snowy owls are native to arctic regions and is covered in white feathers. The snowy owl has great eyesight but it is not as sensitive as some other owls.

This is because their prey is mostly buried under snow so they need to rely more on their hearing than their eyes. Snowy owls have been said to detect prey almost a mile away when they are in the sky hunting.

How far can a barn owl see

The barn owl is the most common of all the owl species across the world and is one of the most abundant birds. Barn owls are thought to have a smaller field of vision than other owls, possibly due to their smaller eyes.

They have been observed swooping down to catch prey from a height of 3 metres, but it is unknown as to whether they can see prey from a further distance.

How far can a barred owl see

The barred owl is a large owl covered in brown feathers that habituates in dense woodlands. Barred owls usually nest and hunt from a singular spot in a tree.

This spot is usually between 20 to 40 feet high, suggesting that they are able to see prey on the ground from these heights. However, once again it is unknown if they are able to see their prey clearly from this height or if they mainly rely on hearing.

How far can a great horned owl see

The great horned owl is a large species of owl native to the Americas, it is known for its large visible ears that look like horns. Great horned owls have some of the largest eyes in the bird family, as well as their wide 270-degree vision range. These owls have eyesight that is triggered by movement, so provided that their prey is moving in some way, they can spot animals like mice from around 1 mile away.

Related topics

What colours do owls see?

Owls mostly see in monochrome as they do not have many colour sensitive receptors in their eyes. This is so they can see better at night and are much more sensitive to seeing movement.

Do owls eyes glow in the dark?

Owl’s eyes do not glow in the dark, but they do reflect light back that is shone onto them, creating the illusion that they do glow in the dark.

Why can’t owls move their eyes?

The owl’s eyes are actually elongated tubes rather than eyeballs, meaning that they are stuck in position and therefore they can only look straight ahead.