Owls are pretty mysterious animals.
They belong to the family of birds known as Strigidae, which includes about 200 species of mostly nocturnal birds that can be found on all continents except Antarctica. If you are an avid bird watcher, you probably know owls are not the most social of birds.
However, there is still much to learn about these unusual and fascinating creatures, and if you are wondering how long owls live, we hope the following information will be useful to you.
Table of Contents
- How long do owls live?
- How long do some of the most common owl species live?
- In Conclusion
How long do owls live?
The life expectancy of an owl depends on the species. In fact, some owls live as long as 40 years or more while other species have a much lower lifespan. It also differs a lot depending on whether it is a wild owl or an indoor pet.
Owls are divided into two groups: barn owls and typical owls.
Let’s begin investigating how long owls live by taking a look at typical owl species.
How long do barn owls live?
Barn Owls (Tyto alba) can be found all over the world. Their most distinctive features are their heart-shaped faces and the featherless areas around their eyes that look as if they’ve been torn or ripped apart – which some scientists say is a result of fighting between males during mating season.
In fact, about 20% of wild adult Barn Owl deaths have been attributed to the aggression of other adult owls. As for how long they live, on average a Barn Owl will only survive about 5 years in the wild but with good care in captivity these birds have been known to live up to 20 years.
There are also records of Barn Owls reaching the age of 28!
How long do typical owls live?
Typical owls, on the other hand, tend to live longer. They are found all over the world except for polar regions, extreme deserts and tropical rainforests.
The smallest owl is the Elf Owl, which can be found in southwestern United States and Mexico, Central America and in South America as far south as northern Argentina.
The largest typical owl is Blakiston’s fish owl (Bubo blakistoni), which can be found throughout most of the boreal forest in Russia and then eastwards to northeastern China, North Korea and the Hokkaido island in Japan.
It also lives year-round at high altitudes in the mountains of Taiwan. These large owls are among the heaviest of all living owls, since mature males reportedly reach up to 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds).
The lifespan of typical owls varies greatly depending on their size and habitat, but on average they live anywhere from 7 to 20 years in captivity or 15 to 25 years in the wild.
Despite that, there are reports of huge specimens living for more than 60 years!
We will never know for sure because nobody has ever seen an owl die of old age. Most likely, disease or predators would get them before that could happen.
How long do some of the most common owl species live?
How long do Great Horned Owls live?
Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) can be found throughout most of the Americas and southern Canada, as far north as Anchorage, Alaska and to Santiago in central Chile. These large owls live an average of 20 years in captivity but have been known to survive up to 42 years!
Even though they are known for their role as predators, people should take care not to disturb them too much because they are also very sensitive.
In fact, disturbances such as aircraft noise or nearby humans can cause them stress which severely limits their hunting abilities – thus making it harder for those birds to get the food they need to survive.
The Life Expectancy of Boreal Owls
Boreal Owls (Aegolius funereus) can be found through most of Canada and Alaska as well as all across Europe and Asia to the western edge of Siberia. These small to medium-sized owls live for about 16 years in captivity but can live up to at least 20 years old in the wild!
They should never be handled by humans, however, because they are very sensitive and easily stressed which could lead them to stop eating or even die from heart failure.
Since Great Horned Owls reside in the same areas, it’s best for humans not to disturb either of them too much if they want to keep seeing both species living there!
How long do Elf Owls live?
Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi) can be found all across the deserts and dry regions in southwestern United States and northern Mexico. They are one of the smallest owls on earth, but they have been known to get to 7 years old in captivity – though most don’t make it longer than 2 or 3 since they’re so small.
It’s believed that these owls only live as long as they do because humans don’t usually bother them much until after their first winter!
Once removed from their natural habitat, however, they are very sensitive to stress which often leads them to stop eating. With no food available, these little guys will likely die even before reaching two years of age – which is very sad!
The Life Expectancy of Burrowing Owls
Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) can be found throughout North, Central and South America. These medium-sized owls are actually one of the only species that live in underground burrows instead of the usual hollows in trees or caves like most other owl species.
Despite this difference, they still live anywhere between 14 to 21 years old in captivity but usually only reach 4 or 5 years in the wild due to all sorts of dangers there.
Even though they may not make it as long as some other species do when removed from their natural environment, these little guys still deserve lots of protection because they’re important for keeping pest populations down – which helps keep many other species alive, too!
How long do snowy owls live?
Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) can be found in the Arctic regions and islands in the north. They tend to live longer lives than most other species and have been known to reach 30 years of age, with some even reaching 40.
At one point during the early 1900s, Snowy Owls were considered a threat to farm animals and were hunted until only 10% remained. In 1969, they gained protected status under the U.S Endangered Species Act due to their dwindling population numbers throughout North America.
However, many scientists now believe that the Snowy Owls are only a few generations from extinction.
How long do Barred Owls live?
Barred Owls (Strix varia) can be found throughout eastern North America and are actually one of the most common owl species in that region. They’re medium-sized owls, and they have been known to live for 20 years in captivity, though only reaching 4 or 5 in the wild – usually due to starvation or disease.
There are few natural predators out there who could attack them, but barred owls are very susceptible to stress which often leads them to stop eating when they’ve become too stressed out. If they don’t get food soon enough after that happens, then they probably won’t make it another year in the wild.
Now that you know the potential owl lifespan, you can better understand how important it is to protect their natural habitats.
By protecting these little guys, we’re also doing a good thing for the rest of the animals in their habitats.
Oh, and if you ever get a chance to meet an owl in real life, make sure to ask if they’ve been around for a while and how long they think they might live!