Species information


Feather colour


Native range


Wingspan of average adult



Used in Postal Services and companionship

"Owls are magical creatures most often used for delivering post and parcels in the wizarding world. They are known for their speed and discretion and can find recipients without an address."

Owls are birds of prey. They belong to the families Strigidae (typical owls) and Tytonidae (Barn Owls), and there are at least 200 species. They normally feed on small mammals, insects, fish, and other birds. They do not make nests, instead sheltering inside trees, ground burrows, caves, and barns, or using other birds' old nests. Owls do not live in flocks, but the term for a group of owls is a parliament. The study of owls is a branch of ornithology.

Normally, some owls are nocturnal, and owls generally keep to themselves, but in the wizarding world they serve many needed functions and have many sorts of personalities.

Postal workersEdit


Owls are enlisted to aid communication between wizards. Letters, parcels, and Howlers are all delivered by owls. Soft edges on an owl's flight feathers reduce the noise of flight, coupled with their natural camouflage, making them ideal for delivering letters.[2]

Owls must be trained to carry letters. Possibly only certain owls with attunement to magic can be trained for this purpose. Owls are able to find any wizard, wherever he may be, to deliver his mail.

Owls are used for commercial purposes, such as the Owl Post Office in Hogsmeade, and delivering newspapers and magazines such as the Daily Prophet and The Quibbler. The Ministry of Magic formerly used owls for interdepartmental memos, but switched to enchanted paper aeroplanes because owls made too much mess with their droppings and shed feathers.

Postal owls all have different jobs, but it is the duty of a Scops Owl for local deliveries only, as they are small and weak fliers.


The smallest owl is the Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi), which lacks the feathers for silent flying. The Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium passerinum) is slightly larger than the Elf Owl, but with serrated feathers. The Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) has curvy feathers on its brow and ears; this is possibly the species of the "hawk-like owl" which was part of the Lovegood family. The Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca) is native to the Arctic.

List of speciesEdit

  • Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
  • Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo)
  • Scops Owl
  • Western Screech Owl (Otus kennicotti)
  • Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio)
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus)
  • Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca)
  • Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
  • Tawny/Brown Owl (Strix aluco)
  • Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa)
  • Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi)
  • Burrowing Owl (Speotyto cunicularia)

Known owlsEdit

File:Errol 2.jpg

See alsoEdit

Behind the scenesEdit

File:OWL carrying a message.gif
  • During the production of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, an attempt was made to train bats to carry letters, but this was abandoned because bats urinate during flight.
  • It took trainers three months to train owls to carry letters for the films.
  • In April 2009, a falconer whose owls starred in the Harry Potter films admitted a string of animal cruelty offences.[4]
  • In many legends, owls represent death. But in other legends, like those of Ancient Greece, owls are a symbol of wisdom. In India, owls are birds of ill omen.
  • In reality, the Brown Owl and the Tawny Owl are the same species (Strix aluco), but the Harry Potter books treat them as different types of owl.
  • There was a business which specialised in training owls.


The Harry Potter Compendium has 2 images related to Owl.

Notes and referencesEdit

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