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Do owls have tails?
Question Date: 2017-04-04
Answer 1:

Yes, owls do have tails. Tails are very important for flying. They help the bird stay stable (not wobbly), steer, and put on the brakes for landing. Tails probably also help them to keep their balance when they are perched on a branch.

Their tail is mostly feathers. The boney part of their tail is not much bigger than the boney parts of our tail. (Our tails are hidden by the time we’re born.)

Owls are pretty amazing. They have very good eyesight and hearing so they can find their prey at night. They can hear a mouse running through leaves. Their eyes are in front of their faces like ours. This lets them see in 3D, but means they can’t see behind them very well. They have evolved the ability to turn their heads really far, though. This lets them see behind them. We can twist our bodies to see behind us, but birds have a rigid body. They can’t just turn their shoulders without turning their hips. Their feathers have special edges so that they make almost no noise when they fly.

What else can you find out about owls?

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

Owls are like all modern birds in that their tail skeleton is highly reduced. In most legged animals (dogs, cats, lizards, salamanders, etc.) a long tail is supported by up to several dozen bones known as caudal vertebrae. In birds, the caudal vertebrae are greatly reduced in number and length. The three or four on the end are fused into a single triangular element called the pygostyle, to which the tail feathers attach.

Interestingly, some early fossil birds (or close bird relatives--it depends on how you define "bird") such as the famous Archaeopteryx, still had long tails, just like most "normal" dinosaurs. By "normal" I mean those dinosaurs that aren't birds, since it's now widely accepted that birds ARE a kind of dinosaur.

Answer 3:

Yes, they use them to control their stability as they fly.

Answer 4:

Thanks for the great question.

Owls, and other birds, have many types of feathers that help them fly. Some of these feathers are called tail feathers because they are toward the back of the bird. Tail feathers help the bird steer and brake while flying.

Owls have tail feathers too. They tend to be short but they are still needed for the owl to fly. One other really neat fact about owl feathers is that they are shaped in a way that lets the owl fly almost perfectly silently. This helps them capture their food more easily.

Thanks again for the question.

Answer 5:

Tails cones in all different shapes and sizes and fulfill many different functions depending on the animal! Monkeys have prehensile tails which means that they can grab objects using their tail. It is almost as if they have a third hand! Many fish and marine mammals have tails to help them navigate in the water. Owls have tails, like other birds, but what do they use them for? While their wings generate the lift that allows them to fly, their tails allow them to control themselves in the air. They act very similarly to the rudder of a boat. Thank you for the question!

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