We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What’s Unique about an Owl’s Eyesight?

Owls can rotate their heads about 270 degrees in either direction, and up and down about 90 degrees, without moving their shoulders. This maneuverability is key to their ability to spot prey, especially when you consider that an owl doesn’t have eyeballs. Their eyes are shaped more like tubes, and are held rigidly in place by bones called sclerotic rings. Their eyes consist of densely packed retinal rods -- about a million rods per square millimeter -- which help them see in all kinds of light conditions.

The eyes have it:

  • Owls are farsighted, and they can’t focus on objects that are very close. Whisker-like bristles located near their beaks help them detect objects at close range.
  • Owls have binocular vision. Binocular vision is the ability to see an object with both eyes, at the same time. This visual acuity increases the owl’s depth perception.
  • Owls have three eyelids. The upper eyelid closes downward when the owl blinks, and the lower eyelid closes up when the owl sleeps. The third eyelid provides translucent protection, moving horizontally while still allowing the owl to see.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.