The Red-Eyed Owl’s Fascinating Adaptation

The red-eyed owl, also known as the Stygian owl, is a species of owl that is commonly found in Central and South America. This bird is known for its striking appearance, which includes long ear tufts, dark coloration, and bright red eyes.

The red eyes of the Stygian owl are the result of reflective discs located behind the retina. This adaptation allows the owl to see in low light conditions, and also gives the bird a distinctive appearance. The bright red eyes can be quite startling when seen up close, and have led to the owl beng associated with the devil in some cultures.

Despite its eerie appearance, the red-eyed owl is a fascinating bird with many unique characteristics. For example, this species is known for its distinctive call, which is a series of hoots that sound like the bird is saying “who cooks for you.” The call is often heard at night, when the owl is most active.

In addition to its vocalizations, the Stygian owl is also known for its hunting abilities. This bird is a skilled predator, with sharp talons and a powerful beak that it uses to capture prey. Its diet consists primarily of small mammals, such as rodents and bats, as well as birds and insects.

The red-eyed owl is also an important part of many ecosystems. As a top predator, it helps to control populations of other animals, and plays a key role in maintaining the balance of nature. Additionally, the owl is a symbol of wisdom and intelligence in many cultures, and is often featured in art and literature.

The red-eyed owl is a fascinating and important species that deserves our respect and admiration. Whether you encounter one in the wild or simply appreciate its unique appearance, this bird is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who sees it.

What Owl Has Red Eyes?

The owl species that is known for hving red eyes is the Stygian Owl, also known as the Asio stygius. This owl is a nocturnal bird of prey that is found in parts of Central and South America. The Stygian Owl is known for its distinct physical characteristics, such as long ear tufts and dark coloration. However, what sets it apart from other owl species is its brilliant red reflection of the eyes when illuminated by lamps or other light sources. This unique feature has led to the Stygian Owl being associated with the Devil in some cultures, and it has earned the vernacular name of “devil’s owl” in Brazil.

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Do Owls Eyes Turn Red?

The eyes of some owl species can appar red in daylight due to the presence of reflective discs behind their retinas. These discs, called tapetum lucidum, help amplify the amount of light that enters the owl’s eyes and improve their night vision. When exposed to daylight or artificial light, the tapetum lucidum reflects the light back out of the eye, creating the appearance of bright red or orange eyes. This phenomenon is commonly observed in owls such as the barn owl, great horned owl, and snowy owl. However, not all owl species have red eyes, as some have yellow, brown, or black eyes depending on their habitat and camouflage needs.

Do Great Horned Owls Have Red Eyes?

Great horned owls do not have red eyes. Their eyes are various shades of yellow. However, some people may mistake the yellow eyes for a reddish hue in certain lighting conditions. It is important to note that the eyes of great horned owls can change color with age, with younger birds having lighter colored eyes that gradually darken as they mature. Additionally, great horned owls can be distinguished by the white colored patch on ther throat and the black and brown stripes that extend all over their white underbelly. The bird’s bill is also black, surrounded by white or tan colored plumage.

Do Barn Owls Have Red Eyes?

Barn owls do not have red eyes. They have dark eyes which are usually black or brown in color. The color of their eyes is in contrast to their pale overall appearance, with a mix of buff and gray on the head, back, and upperwings, and white on the face, body, and underwings. When seen at night, they may appear all white due to the reflection of light off their feathers. Therefore, barn owls are easily recognizable by their distinct appearance and dark eyes.


The Stygian Owl, also known as the “devil’s owl”, is a fascinating creature with its unique characteristics such as long ear tufts, dark coloration, and the striking red reflection of its eyes. Although its appearance may be unsettling to some, it is a beautiful and important member of the owl family. Its red reflective discs, coupled with its sharp ears and dark feathers, make it an expert hunter, and its presence in the wild is a testament to the diversity and wonder of the natural world. the red-eyed owl is a remarkable and awe-inspiring species that deserves our admiration and protection.

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William Armstrong

William Armstrong is a senior editor with, where he writes on a wide variety of topics. He has also worked as a radio reporter and holds a degree from Moody College of Communication. William was born in Denton, TX and currently resides in Austin.