(SPOILER conversation of Hedwig in book 7—Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—is here.)

No spoilers past this point:

Now that 5 Harry Potter movies and also all seven publications have to be released, human being have become very familiar v owls. This website will provide you facts around owls both in the real world and in J.K. Rowling’s magical world. I live in the united States, but Harry Potter resides in England. Part owls live in both places, and also some are discovered on only one next of the pond. I’ve studied owls because that a long time and also read all seven Harry Potter books and seen the movies, yet I merely couldn’t have written this and also made it authoritative without a many of assist from a most people. If you have information I must add, corrections, or other comments, please email me.

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In J.K. Rowling’s exorbitant universe, owls bridge the magical and muggle world, moving messages, packages, and even Nimbus 2000s v ease together they make it clean to muggles that as soon as a message requirements to acquire through, it WILL get through. One Snowy Owl called Hedwig likewise provides heat companionship as soon as a lonely wizard called Harry demands it.

If you have actually questions about owls, very first look to see if you can find the answers here. If not, you have the right to email Professor McGonagowl. As always, if you have actually questions, comments, or corrections, you re welcome let me know. Come get more information, see:


Harry’s owl Hedwig is a Snowy Owl. She’s a mrs but, in the movie, the actors playing her room males. (One of the owls play Hedwig was additionally the very first cast member to be chosen!!) You deserve to tell that the owl playing Hedwig in the photo is really a male because his plumage is for this reason white—female Snowy Owls have dark markings. Females are additionally bigger and heavier, and also so would be a small harder for human actors come handle. Healthy and balanced males average about 4 pounds, females nearly 4 1/2 pounds. Lock have powerful talons. Girlfriend can’t see in the photo that Daniel Radcliffe is wearing thick leather security on his arm. Claws that can kill a large duck through thick feathers deserve to be pretty hard on human being arms, too, even when the owl is simply trying come balance itself.


Seven different owls played the function of Hedwig. Their names room Gizmo, Kasper, Oops, Swoops, five Oh, Elmo and also Bandit. I discovered out some exciting things on The Pet ar site around Harry Potter.

Real Snowy Owls live in the arctic tundra, in north America, Europe, and Asia. A few breed in the north British Isles. Part misidentified cavern art by Paleolithic world of Europe has owls top top a cave wall in Ariege, France; in numerous sources (such as previously iterations the this an extremely page), consisting of authoritative ones, the illustration is identified as Snowy Owl, however this very first owl portrayed in art almost everywhere in the world is virtually certainly a Long-eared Owl, as described by the Bradshaw Foundation.

Snowy Owls are predators, and eat just animals, never plants. Their key prey varieties is the lemming, a fierce tiny rodent smaller than a chipmunk. Lemmings have enormous population fluctuations native one year to the next. Once lemmings space abundant, Snowy Owls may eat fixed anything else. They normally swallow each lemming whole, head first, however if they’re not too hungry, they occasionally bite off just the head, or also eat components in tiny bits. Yet when lemming numbers room down, Snowy Owls eat a lot of other things. Depending on where they live, they might eat a many snowshoe hares, grebes and ducks (especially Horned Grebes), ptarmigans, floor squirrels, rats, partridge, and also even fish. Once a Snowy Owl’s confront gets gooped up through blood and guts, it sometimes cleans up by clean everything its face in the snow.You can see much more photos that wild Snowy Owls on my Snowy Owl flickr photostream. Worldwide warming is expected to hurt Snowy Owls over lot of your range. Hedwig is lucky she lives in a wonder world!


The Weasley family has a an extremely clumsy owl called Errol. In the movie he’s a great Gray Owl. Ns don’t think his types is actually discussed in the books, but my friend Katty native Belgium discovered that that IS referred to as a good Gray Owl top top J.K. Rowling’s internet site. Measured native head come tail, the an excellent Gray Owl is the biggest owl in the world. However even though they’re an customs or so much longer than Snowy Owls and also look simply as big, they sweet much much less than Snowy Owls—sometimes less than half! Also, your wingspan isn’t as lengthy as that of Snowy Owls, probably due to the fact that their wings don’t carry practically as much weight. Great Gray Owls specialize on mice and also voles, and also have really thin toes contrasted to other substantial owls.


In phibìc America, wild great Gray Owls live in Alaska and also much of Canada down to northeastern Minnesota, and also down right into the mountainous areas of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, and also Wyoming. In Europe and also Asia, lock are found in northern Scandinavia, Russia, Siberia, northern Mongolia, north Manchuria, Amurland, and Sakhalin. They make it to good Britain only in the magical human being of bother Potter.

Real great Gray Owls can not carry very heavy items because they themselves space so light (usually much less than 3 pounds!), and their feet are relatively weak. Once I to be taking treatment of hurt birds, ns once had actually to go rescue a an excellent Gray Owl that ns then transferred to a raptor specialist. I had actually it because that a little while, and also was amazed at just how innocuous its feet were. I generally took treatment of songbirds, for this reason didn’t have the heavy gloves normally worn once doing raptor work, yet this owl’s talons didn’t hurt my bare hands in ~ all. Typically over 90% of a good Gray Owl’s diet is one species—meadow voles. Once they eat bigger prey, such as rabbits and also squirrels, they must sit ~ above the animal for countless hours, biting off small chunks the meat.

! (https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6001/5931412346_f1e615b010_b.jpg I’m hold this wild, but injured, good Gray Owl in my bare hands. It’s not tame—it go on come be efficiently rehabbed at The Raptor Center—but great Gray Owl talons aren’t very powerful compared to various other owls.)

The Weasley’s an excellent Gray Owl, Errol, is an extremely clumsy. Real owls merely cannot crash the way Errol go in the movie. Not also the owl actor that plays Errol might really crash choose that—like other birds, owls have actually hollow bones and also are much too fragile to slam right into tables and windows. In the movie, castle filmed a real great Gray Owl paris gracefully v the Errol scenes. Climate they substituted a dummy owl for the crashes.

! (https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5044/5247938064_9e3e4404b4_b.jpg notice how thin the branch is sustaining this great Gray Owl’s weight.)

! (https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8657/16390439391_42b567c5eb_b.jpg an excellent Gray Owls are among the most impressive of all owls.)

You have the right to see plenty of photos the wild an excellent Gray Owls on my good Gray Owl flickr photostream.


Pigwidgeon is so minute that some people have said to me that he could be a little Owl, one very small owl uncovered in England. This owl’s clinical name is Athene noctua, and it is reasonably common in lot of the range, in southern and main Europe and also Asia, and also northern Africa. Tiny Owls aren’t native to England, but were introduced there in the so late 1800s. Little Owls space not uncovered anywhere naturally in north America, however they space in the same genus, and also closely associated to, the Burrowing Owl. Like the Burrowing Owl, the small Owl is discovered in open up habitats, and is often active in the daytime and also the night. The tiny Owl frequently perches top top posts and other look-outs. Like most tiny owls, the little Owl eats plenty of insects, which the can record on the wing.



The little Owl does have some exciting mythology that its own, being the spiritual owl that the goddess Athene—that’s exactly how it obtained its scientific name. And also it is shown on coins from old Athens.

But follow to J.K. Rowling’s own website, and also supported by mar Grandpre‘s lover illustrationin thing 22 of take care of Potter and also the prisoner of Azkaban, Pigwidgeon is a Eurasian (Common) Scops Owl.


This owl, also tinier 보다 a little Owl and an ext closely concerned the screech owls of America, has actually “ear tufts”—feathers the stick increase on the head and look favor ears. The owl illustration because that this chapter clearly shows those feather tufts.


We hope the moviemakers would usage a scops owl when Pigwidgeon ultimately appeared, yet he wasn’t in the movies at all, which has actually been a huge disappointment to me and many others!

What would Pigwidgeon sound like? You can listen to recordings the various species of scops owls here.

Ron seemed resentful to have such a tiny animal compared to Harry’s Hedwig. However we bet he didn’t have to work practically as difficult to clean increase after Pigwidgeon together Harry did because that Hedwig! Owl poop is smelly and messy. (Unless they’re miracle owls—we an alert that Harry’s black color cloak never has actually a single white clues on it!)

Malfoy’s Owl

Malfoy’s owl is the largest, most heavy owl in Europe, an Eagle Owl. Eagle Owls room not discovered in the joined States—they live in Europe and also Asia. Eagle Owls room not native to great Britain, yet a few pairs have actually escaped captivity. Researchers hope lock don’t end up being established in the wild in England because like all introduced animals, castle will almost assuredly disturb the balance the nature currently there. Yet in your native range these magnificent birds are an essential part of that balance. Eagle Owls have oranger eyes than good Horned Owls, are slightly larger, and also have heavy, upright streaks top top the front, rather than the finer, horizontal impede of the an excellent Horned Owl. Again, an alert how the perches through the 2 normal former toes facing forward. (The “thumb” toe and also the ago toe confront backward).


Percy’s Screech Owl

I didn’t pay sufficient attention to an additional owl—Percy’s! Fortunately, my girlfriend Katty writes:

In the bother Potter Lexicon around owls, they stated a screech owl.And in chapter 5 of sinner of Azkaban, you have the right to find: “…Percy’s screech owl, …”(when Rowling explained the Weasleys, Hermione and also Harry leaving the Leaky Cauldron.)

Considering that my very own owl, Archimedes, is a screech owl, i really have to have uncovered this on my own!


Other Owls showing up Here and also There

Throughout the harry Potter movies, over there are numerous owls here and also there.

The owl displayed in plenty of of the posters, screensaver, and other promotional material for the movie, Harry Potter and also the Sorcerer’s Stone, is a good Horned Owl.


This owl resides in North, Central, and South America, yet is not found in the wild in England or any kind of other location on the side the the Atlantic Ocean. Ns don’t know if this promotional product was provided in England, yet it makes a most sense for an American owl to provide invitations come the movie to human being in Canada and also the U.S. An alert that the owl has actually two front claws on every foot facing forward. Owls have actually three former toes and also one ago toe on each foot. But one of the prior claws is opposable, and rotates backward the way we use our thumb. For this reason the method this owl is delivering the letter come Harry is, indeed, specifically the way a genuine owl would carry mail. Notification that owls choose air mail.

! (http://media.mmsanotherstage2019.com/images/85f6d5f0-fafa-4123-be2c-195400110157_LOTSofOwls-web.jpg actual owls wouldn’t it is in comfortable being so close to various other owls. This scene to be made using unique filming techniques.)

In genuine life, huge species that owls sometimes eat smaller species. Actual owls are exceptionally stressed by being close to other owls. But filming the step shown over did not anxiety the owls. Why? This scene was filmed over and also over, with different owls each time, and then the movies were digitally manipulated to make it show up that all the owls to be there together at the exact same time.

! (http://media.mmsanotherstage2019.com/images/a8121040-360a-4494-a816-4b471778ec66_GtGrayDiagonAlleyWEB.jpg The an initial Harry Potter movie supplied owls a lot to develop the wonder world.)

Notes about the fourth movie: My girlfriend Katty indigenous Belgium, that is remote so notices a good many sounds i don’t pay enough attention to, writes:

Yesterday, I observed the 4th film and also was happy to hear different owl sounds.In this movie, we gotten in the owlery (not a circular rock room as described in the books,but it appeared to it is in located exterior the school).I don’t understand if you have the right to see lot of the owl varieties during this scene, but I heard the sound of:

little owlbarn owl (maybe)eagle owlsnowy owl???other varieties I didn’t recognise. They appeared to be really active, yet I don’t know if that is evening or work in the film.

During the film, you can hear other owl species, yet I don’t know if you deserve to see them. I heard:

little owl (on the graveyardtawney owl??barn owl

The only varieties (and owl character) ns didn’t see or hear was Pigwidgeon.

Frequently asked Questions

Could a actual owl really carry a Nimbus 2000?

! (http://media.mmsanotherstage2019.com/images/c6904f12-3f12-437d-bd26-ab99d0769366_HedwigwithNimbus2000Zoom.jpg Hedwig has actually a existing for Harry! Is there yes, really a broom in the bag?)

Snowy Owl frequently kill snowshoe hares and also can carry them to your nestlings. A snowshoe hare weighs over 1 kilogram. I weighed one corn broom together 0.6 kilograms, so the weight of a actual broom wouldn’t it is in a difficulty for a Snowy Owl. And also a Snowy Owl’s talons can conveniently grip a broom handle. Therefore yes, a real Snowy Owl can really lug a Nimbus 2000. Yet the Snowy Owl in this scene just flew through, and then the filmmakers digitally included the broom. This wasn’t too difficult to do. In the arctic tundra, wherein there are no trees for Snowy Owls to bonk into in flight, they regularly dangle their legs in flight. So in this scene, the real owl’s foot are already in position to be delivering something.

Tiny owls can easily carry mice, therefore letters and birthday greetings would certainly be quite easy because that them come manage. However according to The pet Place:

Although transparent the movie, it appears the owls lug messages and even thebroom, they didn’t actually host the objects. Instead, they to be attached to the birds using an invisible harness. As soon as they reached the appropriate point, a trainer traction a cord, which exit the message or object.

Also, an alert that the broom that was ceded in the movie was yes, really made the end of paper.

Can actual owls it is in happy in cages?

The cage Harry often keeps Hedwig in is way too little for any kind of real owl, and also the small Victorian cage offered in the movie would certainly be illegal to keep an owl in one of two people the U.S. Or an excellent Britain. Great Britain needs all bird cages to be large enough to allow the bird come stretch that wings totally without emotional anything. To keep it in something smaller requires a vet certificate. Yet the owl playing Hedwig is most likely used come a fairly small cage once he goes places, the way dogs or cats gain used to a small pet transport or kennel, as long as lock don’t should stay in that too long or as well often.


Are real owls ever active in the daytime?

Owls the live in the Arctic, “the soil of the midnight sun,” obviously have actually to be able to hunt in shining conditions. Snowy Owls can hunt by day or night. And some other owls are very diurnal—the north Hawk-Owl and also the more tropical Pygmy-Owls are active in the daytime.

! (https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5047/5361232433_eb47a64836_b.jpg north Hawk Owl, active at midday.)

Many owls space crepuscular—most energetic at twilight. And also some are active ONLY at night—the tiny Saw-whet Owl and also Boreal Owl are great examples.


My own small owl, Archimedes, reminds me that a cat. He’s active when he feels choose it and also sleeps once he feels like it, work or night.


In the wild, Screech Owls roost and nest in tree cavities or nest boxes, and also are an extremely vulnerable come jays, robins,and crows in the daytime, but they require some sunshine to develop Vitamin D, so they spend much of the day v their head poking the end of the hole. If a cranky robin or jay spots one, the small owl simply retreats back into the cavity.

Can civilization really have owls for pets?

In the magical world of take care of Potter, a wizard or witch have the right to own a actual owl. In the genuine world, in England, people are allowed to keep owls provided the bird can be displayed to be captive bred or found disabled and unable to be returned to the wild—in bespeak to present owls for money or to breed them because that sale, civilization in the U.K. Require to have what is recognized as one “Article 10 certificate,” which attributes much together a licence because that the bird.

In the U.S., keeping owls because that pets is always against the law. In the U.S., owls and also all other indigenous birds are protected by the Migratory Bird contract Act, and cannot be own by anyone who doesn’t have legal patent for research study or education, or in the situation of an hurt owl, legit rehabilitation permits. I have actually permits to keep one eastern Screech-Owl for education. I first needed to prove that I have a an excellent reason to use an owl because that educational programs, and also that ns could administer healthy, safe, and also comfortable real estate and an excellent food, in order to apply for a allow from the Minnesota room of herbal Resources. I essential a allow from mine state in bespeak to use for a federal permit native the U.S. Fish and also Wildlife Service. ~ I had actually both permits, i was allowed to keep one screech owl, but wasn’t permitted to take it native the wild. I had to discover a rehabilitation facility that had an owl that had recovered but couldn’t be released into the wild. I’ve had actually Archimedes because 2000.

!<“Professor McGonagowl” and Archimedes> (https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6050/6231151859_8f23a27f24_b.jpg I need state and federsal patent to save Archimedes together my education and learning bird)

How can I view a real, live owl in the wild?

Owls are secretive in the daytime, since they room often attacked by crows, ravens, jays, robins, and also other birds. If you’re go in the woods or in a park and also hear what sounds choose exceptionally angry chickadees, or a huge number of extremely loud crows, examine it out! They might be mobbing one owl. At night you can listen because that owls, specifically in late winter and spring. Come hear just how some owls sound, you deserve to look at journey North’s owl dictionary.

Find the end if your town or city has an Audubon culture or various other bird club. Most bird clubs have field trips, and will have specialists along to help you watch all the birds. And also they might have some distinct trips just to find owls!

How can I assist owls?

There are numerous things we can do to assist owls.

Don’t let your dog chase birds.When one owl death a big prey animal, it sometimes spends number of minutes top top the soil eating. During this time, it can easily be eliminated or badly hurt by a dog. We know of at the very least one screech owl the was got by a dog, and the tiny owl’s wing was broken. If human being had not noticed, the would have actually died, however now it’s in a rehab facility.

Leave dead tree standing.If they absolutely should be cut, then to do it in the late fall/early winter to ensure no babies room in the nest.

Put up a timber Duck/Screech Owl box or a ban Owl swarm platform.It’s not a an excellent idea to develop both kinds close to one another, though!

Don’t even think around having one owl because that a pet.

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Owls are defended by law, therefore it’s illegal to save them in bondage in the U.S. There is no a license. However at the very least as important, owls are wild, natural birds requiring a wild, herbal life. In cages they merely cannot carry out all the points their bodies to be designed for and their soul require. Also, owls are not at all simple to treatment for: they must eat whole rodents or other entirety animals, which must be fresh, and also their droppings space messy and smelly, requiring constant clean-up. If girlfriend yearn to take care of real, live owls, volunteer to assist at a nature facility or rehabilitation center.