Owls Sleep

Owl sleeping: Where Do Owls Sleep? (Do Owls Really Lay Down To Sleep)

You will be fascinated by the sight of an owl sleeping, especially owlets (baby owls) because they take the most unlikely posture facing downwards as most young babies do.

Owls love to sleep and can sleep for almost half the day, and where they sleep depends on o the type of owl; while some sleep on trees, others find abandoned buildings and roofs as a better accommodation.

This article will cover all the unique features of owls to understand them better, especially their sleeping pattern and why they sleep as they do. We will also learn the different species of owls that there are and where they sleep.

Do Owls Really Lay Down to Sleep?

Owls Sleep

It’s a fact that all animals need sleep, but the way different animals sleep differs from species to species. The variation in their sleeping pattern can be attributed to many things.

In answering the question: do owls sleep facing down? The answer is Yes, they do sleep facing downwards, but this is most common among the young owls, basically because of how big their heads are.

It’s proven that the head of the owl makes up about 40 percent of its entire body weight, and this is the weight that it carries around, which can take a toll on the owl and so the easiest way for them (especially the owlets which are still learning the art of balancing that massive head) to sleep comfortably is facing downwards. This is pretty much the same reason why babies sleep facing downwards too.

How Long Does an Owl Sleep?

Owls, like most birds, including doves, pigeons, chickens, parrots, and the likes, all require enough sleep to enable their hunt for food. But the difference is that owls are nocturnal animals. They sleep during the day and are active at night. 

Owls sleep for about 12 hours daily, which many people do not think likely because they believe that owls are always active and do not need that much sleep.

Whenever you see them active in the day, they’re probably hunting to get more food or find scarce food, but this is different for a few diurnal species that are most active during the day.

Where Do Owls Sleep?

As human beings, owls are vulnerable when they sleep, and that is why they are very secretive and do not sleep just anywhere because if they do, predators can hunt them while they sleep and kill them.

You hardly find owls inhabiting a place permanently except in breeding season, but other than those times, they look for a dark place to sleep where they can stay undetected and undisturbed.

Where owls sleep usually depends on their species, and there are about 200 species; however, here are some of the most common species and where they try to sleep.

1. Barn Owls: these are the most common owl species, and they are solitary roosters, and they can usually be found sleeping in tree hollows, large buildings, hay sheds, barns, and places like that.

2. Barred Owls: these owls love to sleep in very high trees that are more than 5 meters above the ground; they could sleep in the tree trunks or hollows in the tree, especially in forests where they are thick foliage.

3. Spotted Owls: these owls are just like the barred owl that love sleeping on talk trees that provide a lot of cover from predators.

4. Long-eared Owls: this species of bird love to sleep in a group. You might up to 150 of them clustered in one place as they sleep. You will find them sleeping in forest edges or cedar trees.

5. Northern Hawk Owls: these are diurnal owls that root in the open forest, especially in burned parts of the forest and in marshes and scattered trees.

6. Northern Pygmy Owls: these owls are very secretive about where they sleep; you will find them mostly around forests that have water bodies like streams

7. Great Horned Owls: these are Crepuscular species (active during the twilight hours) and love to nest and roost in wooded areas. You will find them sleeping in trees like juniper, pines and such kind of trees.

8. Burrowing Owls: these species of owls are also very active during twilight hours, and they burrow the ground for nesting and roosting. They are opportunistic in their habitations. They can take over a burrow made by other burrowing animals like squirrels.

9. Snowy Owls: you will not find these owls in dense forest but only in open areas like rocks, mountains, and hills. They will roost in abandoned buildings and other structures during migration

10. Short-eared Owls: the grasslands and deserts where short trees give some form of shelter that these owls live and sleep in.

11. Great Grey Owls: these owls usually sleep in conifer trees, meadows, bogs, and other places that are both open like hills and dense like forests.

Do Owls Sleep With Eyes Open?

Owls Sleep

Most owls are nocturnal, so the bright day is too much for their brain to handle, and hence they might open one eye and close the other even while they are not sleeping to allow one side of their brain to rest while the other side remains active. This also helps them to maintain vigilance at all times too.

Hence when some owls close one eye and open another, it is not necessarily sleeping; rather, it is trying not to take in too much of the brightness of the day than their brain can handle.

It is like you trying to look straight at the sun after days of being holed up in a dark place; the rays of the sun can prove almost blinding.

Do Owls Sleep Upside Down?

Owls Sleep

Many people think that owls sleep like bats with their bodies upside down, but this is not true for many reasons, and one of them is that bats are mammals even though they can fly, so they do not have the same anatomy as bats. Hence they cannot hang upside down like bats when they sleep.

Secondly, if you know owls very well, you will realize that they have massive heads which make up about 30 to 40 percent of their body weight, with this kind of weight, the bird cannot stay upside down without falling. ‘s the answer is a big NO, owls do not hang upside down.

Why Do Owls Sleep Face Down?

It is very uncanny to see how some owls sleep, especially the baby owl; they sleep with their face downwards, and I suppose this baby owl learned it from their parents.

This can be because their heads are too heavy, so their bodies might not stay upright carrying that heavy head. This is most common with baby owls because their young and delicate blues cannot bear weight.

As these owls sleep on trees, they grip a tree branch with their talons while they keep their legs straight so that they remain balanced on the tree without falling. This sleeping posture begins to change as they mature.

Do Owls Sleep in the Same Place Every Night

Yes, indeed, most owls always return to sleep in the same place every time they sleep, and this is because they are very sharp predators who can protect themselves from predators and so do not need to change their sleeping spots to keep them from being preyed on as most smaller birds do.

However, some species have multiple sleeping spots, and they sleep in any of those spots whenever they want.

Can Owls Be Pets?

Owls are not like cats and dogs that are domestic animals, they are wild animals who will not want to live in a home setting, and you truly do not want an owl as a pet for the following reasons.

1. Owls do not like cuddling and frequent contact with human beings and so will not want to be captured and made a pet. You might end up cutting and ‘s ratchet if you try to cuddle an owl.

2. Owls Are Carnivores, and feeding them raw meat can be quite unpleasant because they don’t eat foods like steaks or hamburgers but whole animals.

3. Owls Need Space which should not be like the one you build for regular birds, but it must be made of sturdy materials. Secondly, these owls can destroy your furniture if you get them off the cage.

4. Owls, like humans, need to bathe regularly to get rid of the dust and dirt that accumulates on the feathers.

5. You need a Permit for you to keep an owl in captivity, and that is if you are trained and licensed to keep one legally, and this is only so you can rehabilitate them and release them back to the wild.

6. Because Owls Are Nocturnal, they will sleep during the day and disturb you and your neighbors with their noise at night.

7. Owls need constant care, and they poop a lot. Their poop is so much and quite smelly because they eat only meat


Owls are fascinating animals, and there are many myths built around them, including the fact that they sleep upside down like bats and sleep with one eye open.

With over 200 species of this bird known to humans, it is not surprising that we want to know this bird better.

Owls don’t sleep upside down, and when you see them with one eye open and the other close, they are probably awake but cannot stand all the brightness that daylight brings.

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We trust this article helped you know Where Owls Sleep. You may also want to check out the Best Way to Catch a Wild Bird in Your Backyard?

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