Why do owls move their head left and right? Are they dancing?

I really like owls, and think it's very interesting when they move their heads left and right (with eyes still facing forward). But I don't know if there is a specific purpose when they are doing this, or they are dancing?


I think I didn't explain clearly my question. What I meant was when they are doing this like in this video


Youtube thumbnail

7 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Owls have eyes that are fixed, meaning they cannot keep their head steal and move their eyes. The " dancing of the head is their way of focusing on their intended object. I work with birds of prey at a raptor rehabilitation center. They will do this head dance the whole time I am in their cage. It gets to be somewhat intimidating when you have 12 in one flight pen doing this at the same time.

    • ganna
      Lv 4
      6 years agoReport

      Thanks for explaining it so clearly!!!!

  • 1 decade ago

    Owl eyes are fixed, so they move their entire head to change their field of vision (and they have a tremendous range of motion in their neck compared to humans). But when they move their head sideways while staring at a single spot, they are attempting to triangulate the location of a sound. It is part of their hunting technique.

    Owls have tremendously sensitive hearing, and their ears are actually located asymmetrically on their heads. The ear on one side is higher than that on the other (you can't tell because the ears are under the feathers - the tufts many owls have are not ears, just feathers). They can interpret the minute differences in how the sound reaches their ears to determine distance with great accuracy. That's how they can hunt in darkness, or find rodents hidden under snow.

  • 4 years ago

    Why would you decide whether you wanted to quit based on one single piece of work you've written? I'm not going to judge you based on that. Even if your writing sucks, you could always write some more and make it better. Based on what I read, you're not a bad writer. I like your wordplay in the second paragraph. The formatting is really annoying, though. Do you mean this to be a poem or prose, or what? Your punctuation needs some work, though it's not terrible. Quit if you're so inclined, but don't base it on others' opinion of you.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    owls cannot move their eyes, so they have to move their heads to see what is going on around them

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They're triangulating.

    But yes, they can't move their eyes. What's even more funny is when they turn their heads upside down when they see something strange.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have wondered about that myself. My best guess is that

    they are trying to get a better idea in regards to distance

    or they are trying to focus on something that they are interested


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    well their heads r designed for picking up sounds for hunting, so to pick up the right sounds they need to position their head to the right direction to find out where the prey is.

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