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Owls Hooting [Know Everything]

Owls Hooting [Know Everything]

You might have heard an owl hooting at night. It might appear a very common event due to which you forget to understand the science behind owl hooting. Don’t worry! Below we will dive deep and reveal everything you should know about owl hooting. Let’s begin! 

What are the different sounds that owls make?

Owls are known to make various sounds. Some of the calls are highly unpopular. So, you might confuse it to come from another bird. However, it can be an owl. It’s better to know all the types of sounds an owl can make. 

1. Hoot

One of the most recognizable owl noises is the “hoot.” Great horned owls are notably well-known for their distinctive hooting sound, which consists of two brief, deep “hoo” sounds followed by a protracted “hooooooo.” Typically territorial, these owl cries can be heard for several kilometers.

2. Screeches

Owls occasionally scream when they feel threatened. For instance, great horned owls will make high-pitched owl noises when attacking dangerous creatures. During the breeding season, barking owls have also been observed making loud screeches.

3. Barks

When surprised or alarmed, some owls make a low, barking noise. To deter threats, this sound is made at brief, abrupt intervals. Depending on when the owl perceives a threat, frightened barks can happen at any time during the night. 

4. Growls

Owls in danger have also been observed growling to scare off predators. The growl of the Great Horned Owl resembles a brief, low-pitched honk coming from the throat.

5. Owlet Shrieks

Sometimes at night, owl babies can be heard shrieking. The same nocturnal routine as their parents applies to owlet behavior. Owls often leave their young in the nest when they are awake at night so that the parent can go hunting.

Why do owls hoot?

Owl hooting is a scientific process. Those little guys have several reasons to hoot. Some of these reasons are mentioned right below.

Claiming their territory

It is among the most obvious causes of owl hooting. They mostly hoot to defend their territory and ward off any trespassers. 

Alert against predators

When they spot predators, many birds and other animals chirp. Owls hoot to alert other animals to the presence of a predator.

Communication between partners

Owls use different sounds to communicate with their partners. Hooting is the most common mating call among owls. They use a special type of hoot to talk to their partners. 

Finding partners

Before the mating season starts, the male owls start looking for females. They attract the opposite gender by making attractive hooting sounds. 

Announce inspection calls

Owls are extremely territorial. They are eager to inspect intruders and question them. However, they often make hooting calls before approaching each other. 

Getting startled

Owls are silent creatures. So, they easily get startled. Hoots are the most common calls they make when startled. 

Seasonal hoots

Throughout the year, owls make noise. You will primarily hear the weak noises of the hatchlings in the spring. These noises diminish in the summer as the hatchlings mature.

Owl Hooting in the Morning

Morning hooting is a capability of some owls. It’s most likely a pygmy or barred owl that you are hearing if you hear an owl hooting during the day.

Since they are diurnal owls and can be active in the morning, which is extremely unusual among other owls, they frequently hoot during the day. Here are some other reasons why they hoot during daytime.


Owls use hooting as one form of communication, employing a variety of notes to convey a variety of demands and messages.

For instance, a male owl’s hooting is quieter and shorter during mating and considerably noisier and prolonged when the bird is attempting to attract a partner.

Greeting hoot

Owls “welcome” one another when they come into contact by emitting a short tone sound that alerts the “host” of the “guest’s” arrival.

Territory claiming

Similar to how wolves scream to mark their territories, owls hoot to advertise their newly acquired domain when they claim a specific hunting area.

Breeding sounds

The breeding season of owls starts in the late winter or spring when males of different species hoot at various times during the day. It’s a mechanism to attract females for mating. 

Hunting and feeding

It’s possible that nocturnal owls have problems foraging or locating food within their typical time range if they are active and hooting during the day.

Hooting is employed by diurnal owls during the feeding of the young, while the male is flying off to hunt, and when the female is watching over the nest.

Getting scared

If you hear an owl hoot during the day, it may be because it has seen a predator moving toward it or its nest.

Owl Hooting in Daytime

You already know that some owls can stay active and hoot during the daytime. Now you might want to know all the reasons behind their hooting activity in the morning. Let’s find out more reasons justifying their daytime hooting. 

1. They are diurnal

The daytime is when diurnal owls are most active. They hunt, play, and mate at that time. Additionally, that’s when you’ll probably hear them hoot. The Burrowing Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, and Short-Eared Owl are a few examples of owls that are active during the day. These owls roost like other birds at night and are awake in the morning.

Yellow eyes are commonly found in diurnal owl species. Some owl species have yellow eyes, and they frequently rely on their excellent hearing to stay awake during the day and roost at night. They typically carry out all of an owl’s nighttime activities in the morning. Therefore, you frequently hear them hooting during the day.

2. They maybe communicating with each other

Birds rely on their calls to communicate with each other like any other species. They talk to their family members or strangers through various sounds. Similarly, owls hoot to talk to each other. Their hooting might seem similar to you. However, they have massive variations. 

A male owl can detect strangers and friends by the hooting sound they make. As nocturnal owls hoot during the night, diurnal owls can communicate with other members of their species during the daytime. So, it’s a perfectly normal thing to hear owls hooting and communicating with each other in the morning like crows, nuthatches, etc. 

3. They are hunting

During the night, nocturnal owls hunt and feed themselves and their offspring. So, you can often hear them hooting at night. It’s one of the most common preying sounds that owls make. Sometimes, when the prey isn’t sufficient for the entire family, the owls might continue their preying activities during the daytime to ensure everyone’s well-fed.

But what about the diurnal owls? As nocturnal owls hunt and hoot at night, the diurnal owls make the same calls in the morning. Hooting is a sound that ensures that the diurnal owls are active and successfully carrying out the hunting process in the morning.

4. Hooting during the mating season

Although this varies depending on the continent, owls often begin their mate quest in the late winter. The males will call out to potential female mates while hooting through the day and nighttime.

Only interesting males will receive a response from the female, and she will only respond to males of the same species. The male will put on a performance and bring food to his mate as soon as he hears a female response.

The partners will preen at each other during their private times, which entails lots of Cooing. When owls preen, they stroke each other’s faces and heads with their beak. The sound that lovers produce is called cooing, which most people mistake for hooting. 

5. Claiming territory during nesting

When two potential mates come across one another, it’s time to start looking for a home. Typically, the male will locate a territory and claim it. Then, in order to alert the female, he will coo and hoot. The female will show up, survey the area, and then select the actual nesting location.

Owls are excellent hunters, but they are terrible nest builders. Many owl species will consequently take over a nest that has been abandoned by birds and other animals of other species. Once the owl pair takes possession of the abandoned nest, they will cooperate to protect it and hoot to warn one another when predators are around.

6. They saw a predator

Owls are known for their wisdom and intelligence. When owls see a predator, they hoot to frighten the predator away and alert other animals to the potential threat. It is well known that some owl species prey on other owl species. For instance, Barred Owls will attack and consume Western Screech Owls, whereas Great Horned Owls will attack and consume Barred Owls.

The only predators of owls, who are at the top of the food chain, are other owl species. However, some predators may be drawn to injured owls, owl eggs, and baby owls.

7. Hoots when feeding the owlets

The male typically hunts while the female stays behind to watch over the nest when the mating partners have young owlets. The male will occasionally call out to the female while he is hunting to see if everything is still okay at home.

The female answers when it is safe with brief hoots and when danger is present with a piercing screech. If there are diurnal owls in your neighborhood, you can hear them hooting during the day. It is safe to assume that the owls could be giving the owlets food.

8. They are scared

Owls are easy to become afraid of, even during the day. Although they might appear grumpy, confident, and courageous, they can easily get startled. When a bird approaches their nest or a squirrel gets closer to them, it can make a sharp hooting sound when they feel scared.

It can often happen that the owls feel scared during the daytime. They can either screech or hoot suddenly. It indicates that they were scared of sometimes, felt startled, and made a sudden hooting sound in the morning.

Owl Hooting in Night

Owls are known to be nocturnal. These birds are mostly active during the night and make hooting sounds. But why do they make such calls? Here’s why!

Finding mate

Owls need to find their partners during the breeding season. They often make a loud hooting noise to declare their availability to the females. However, owls are mostly monogamous. So, young owls or adult individuals whose partners died often make hooting calls to attract a new mate.

Talking to each other

Owls use the hooting sound to communicate with each other. They make a distinctive hooting sound to talk to their partners or strangers in their territory at night.

Defending their territories

When a male owl sees another male in its territory, they get alarmed and make a unique hooting sound to defend its territory. As owls are active at night, they mostly to encounter territorial clashes when the sun sets and make hooting sounds.


Hooting is the typical sound that owls make during hunting at night. When they are immensely active and waiting for prey to appear, owls hoot occasionally.

Claiming their territory and females

Owls claim their territory and defend their females, especially during the breeding season. They hoot and declare their territory while warning other males from intruding their region.

Videos of Owl Hooting

Indeed, listening and watching owls hoot is a mesmerizing event. So, let’s check out a few videos of owls hooting at various times in their natural habitat.

1. Tawny owl hooting in the forest at night

Tawny owls make a sweet hooting sound. In this video, a mesmerizing owl of the species marks its presence by hooting in the late hours.

2. A pair of horned owls hooting during the day

It’s a beautiful sight of an owl pair hooting and cooing during the daytime. They are clearly communicating with each other in the video.

3. Barred owl hooting during daytime

A barred owl in the video sits on a high branch and hoots during the daytime. It’s a diurnal owl. So, their activities peak in the morning.

4. An uncommon sight of barred owl and owlet hooting

This video will make you fall in love with owls! It shows a baby owlet and its parents hooting and communicating with each other during the daytime.

5. Great horned owl hooting at the moon

This video will remind you how mesmerizing owls are! It depicts the silhouette of a Great Horned owl staring at the moon and hooting. 

Spiritual Meaning of Owl Hooting at You

Owls have a deep significance spiritually. They are considered good and bad omen according to various religions and cultures. So, what does an owl hooting at you signify? Let’s understand!

If an owl hoots at you, it may be sending you a message about wisdom and knowledge, perhaps encouraging you to use logic rather than intuition to overcome problems in your life. A hooting owl can be a sign that you should trust your intuition while making a significant decision in the near future because owls also symbolize feminine energy and intuition.

Different Owls and the Number of Times they Hoot

Various owls hoot differently. Some of them hoot thrice or maybe seven times, depending on their species. Here’s a deep dive!

1. Barred owls

Barred owls have the most distinctive hooting sound. They usually hoot seven to nine times. What does it mean? It means that their hooting sounds have sharp notes of seven to nine times. So, you can identify a barred owl by its hooting effortlessly.

2. Great horned owls

The Great Horned owls appear more grumpy and silent. They are mostly noiseless. However, hooting is common among them like other owl species. Typically, a Great Horned owl makes three distinctive notes when they hoot. It becomes simple to identify a Great Horned owl by counting the number of notes in their hoot.

3. Burrowing owls

The burrowing owls are another interesting species among avians. They make a distinctive cu-coo hoot, having two notes in a single call. So, when you hear such sounds, you can conclude it to be a burrowing owl.

4. Eastern screech owl

When discussing owls and their hoots, we cannot turn away from learning about Eastern Screech owls. As their name suggests, their hoot appears like a screech with one syllable. So, it often appears that these owls hoot once and take small breaks before making another call.


Owls are mystical birds. They have unique behaviors not typical to any other bird. So, knowing about them will always give you a thrilling experience, especially when you understand their calls. Like other birds, they don’t associate bad luck or evil omen. However, now that you know why these creatures hoot, they might have become more mesmerizing and intriguing to you.