Difference between Owl and Tecolote

Owls, barn owls and owls are nocturnal birds of prey of the order Strigiformes. The difference between owls and barn owls is mainly that they both belong to a different family. On the other hand, the difference between owls and owls is in their name only. All owls are owls, but not all owls are owls. Some owls native to North and Central America are called owls . However, this word of Nahuatl origin is often used indiscriminately, especially in Mexico to refer to all owls and even some owls.

Comparison table

taxonomy Strigiformes order, family Strigidae. Screech owls have the same order and family as owls.
Characteristics The main physical characteristic that differentiates owls from barn owls is the raised feathers simulating the ears. His eyes are large and almost always yellow. In addition, they lack eye mobility, they can only see straight ahead; so the 12 vertebrae in their neck allow their heads to turn 270°. These are larger and their faces rounder than those of owls. They have abundant and soft plumage with a wide variety of colors. Owls are owls too, in fact. In general, owl is the popular name given to owls in some regions of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The word tecolote, has its origin in the Nahuatl “tekolotl” and means “owl”. Therefore, it can be said that owls have the same physical and behavioral characteristics as an owl.
Within popular culture Owls represent wisdom. They are the image of the legal field, they are associated with intelligence and justice. However, some cultures associate them with omens of bad luck and death. Unfortunately, this has earned them that many people kill or capture them, fearing their bad omen. The owls occupied a very important place in Mesoamerican cultures. Due to his nocturnal habits he was associated with the underworld, in addition, he was considered the bearer of bad news.
Species All species of the following genera are owls: 

  • Asio (all eared owls)
  • Bubo (like the snowy owl, for example)
  • Glaucidium (pygmy owls or little owls)
  • Mimizuku
  • Pseudoscops
Virtually all species that have the word owl in their common name are native to North America. Some examples are the Cinnamon Owl (Aegolius ridwagi) , the Tamaulipas Owl (Glaucidium sanchezi) and the Cape Owl (Glaucidium californicum) , among many others.
Other data These animals usually form pairs for seasons and even for life. They lay from two to twelve eggs, incubation lasts 30 days. The male and female take turns foraging for food and tending the nest. Only a few species are in danger of extinction. Mainly due to the destruction of their habitats and indiscriminate hunting. Owls are very versatile animals in terms of the places they live. There are practically owls on every continent except Antarctica. They tend to prefer wooded areas, although some species inhabit burrows in the ground. Regarding the owl, this is a very strong figure in current and pre-Hispanic Mexican culture. There are a large number of songs, poems, and sayings involving owls. The saying “When the owl sings, the Indian dies” is very popular and means that when you hear the hooting of an owl, the death of someone close to you is imminent. In some parts of Mexico, nahuales are still believed, sorcerers with the power to transform into animals. Many times these take the form of owls, in order to keep a closer eye on their victims.

Contents: Owl vs. owl

1. Physical appearance
2. Lifestyle, habits and behavior
3. Habitat
4. Curious facts
5. References

Physical appearance

Between these two animals the differences depend on each species. There are owls and owls with feathers that resemble ears. They have large heads and eyes, almost always but not exclusively yellow. Both owls and owls have a very keen sense of sight, which is very helpful when hunting at night. In the same way his sense of hearing is more than formidable. Both make them almost infallible hunters.

As for the color of their plumage, this depends entirely on both their habitat and the season of the year. For example, if the owl or owl in question lives in wooded areas, it will be in shades of brown to camouflage itself with the trunks of the trees. In addition, if it usually snows in this area during the winter, the bird will change its plumage for a white one that allows it to blend in with its environment.

Owls called owls are usually smaller in size than common owls. On the other hand, female owls and owls are up to 25% larger than males.

Lifestyle, habits and behavior

Both owls and owls are nocturnal birds of prey. This means that most of their activity is carried out at night. They feed on small rodents, small mammals, reptiles, insects, and even fish. Almost no species of owl feeds on carrion, although in times of scarcity it is not an unusual behavior to see.

They are generally solitary and territorial birds, which means that except in mating seasons, only one owl is found in each given space. However, there is a small group of subspecies that live in small groups or families.


Owls are animals that easily adapt to almost any climate. In fact, owls inhabit every continent except Antarctica. They tend to prefer wooded areas, as most build their nests high up in trees, although they also like to live in bell towers, barns, and any high area that protects them from any possible predator. There are some species of owls that dwell in burrows on the ground (burrowing owl).

As for owls, the species with this name are exclusively found in America, mainly in the territory between the southern United States and northern South America.

Fun facts

  • Tecolote is the name given to owls in some Latin American countries.
  • They are also known under the name of owls, scops owls, caburés, tawny owls, chunchos and concones.
  • The owls are birds that were related to the underworld within many Mesoamerican cultures. Many believed that they were able to charm or hypnotize people, dragging them into darkness. Today many people still consider them birds of ill omen. In rural communities especially, these birds are often trapped and killed because they are believed to be nahuales or witches.
  • Most species of owls or owls form pairs for life. Each spring they gather, build a nest and take turns caring for the eggs and later the chicks. Once their breeding work is finished, they separate and only come back together until the next breeding season.
  • Owls have three pairs of eyelids to protect their large eyes.
  • There are species of owls that migrate every winter. However, the vast majority live in one place throughout the year.
  • Owls are the only bird species that do not have a crop.

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