Elf Owl Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

The elf owl is the smallest of all the different kinds of owls. This lesson will teach you about elf owls, where they live, how big they are, what they like to eat, and some other cool facts about this tiny owl.

What are Elf Owls?

Imagine a dark, starlit night. You are out enjoying the breeze when suddenly you see a small animal sitting on a tree branch. You are curious, but it starts making a barking noise and clicking its beak when you take a step closer. That's not a tiny dog in a tree; it's an elf owl!

Elf owls are the tiniest owl on Earth, have grayish-brown feathers, round heads, and yellow eyes. Some owls have feathers that stick up on their heads and look like ears, but the elf owl doesn't have them.

Elf Owl
Elf Owl

Elf owls are about five and a half inches long, which is just a little smaller than a fork or spoon. Bigger elf owls weigh almost two ounces, which is almost as much as ten quarters. They usually live to be about five years old in nature.

Besides flying to get around and catch food, elf owls walk, hop like kangaroos, and are even great at climbing trees.

What do Elf Owls Eat?

Elf owls are carnivores and eat meat like moths, crickets, lizards, scorpions, and rats.

Elf Owl out at Night
Elf Owl out at Night

They are nocturnal, which means they are most active at night, and are completely quiet when they swoop down in flight and grab their dinner. Elf owls are so silent, their prey never hears them coming thanks to some special feathers on the borders of their wings that dampen sound. They would be great at hide and seek since you'd never hear them moving!

While these owls are hunting, they have to be careful not to become a snack for other animals, too, like snakes, coyotes, and even other hungry owls.

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