Why Do Owls Sleep During the Day?

Do you ever wonder why owls sleep during the day? It seems like an odd choice for an animal that is most active at night. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why owls sleep during the day and what benefits it provides them. We will also take a look at where owls sleep, how they sleep, and what other factors influence their sleeping patterns.

When Do Owls Sleep?

Owls are nocturnal animals, which means that they are most active at night. So, it might not come as a surprise that many owls also sleep during the day. In fact, some owl species can be found sleeping in trees during the day. 

If you’re ever wandering through the woods and come across an owl actively flying or hunting, there’s a good chance that it’s close to sunset or early in the morning. Owls typically aren’t active when the sun is up, and their prey is most active late at night, but starts moving around more around dawn and dusk. If you ever want to see an owl in the heat of the day, you will need to look out for the Northern Hawk Owl, or the Northern Pygmy Owl, as these are the only two species of owl that are truly diurnal (active during the day). 

Why Do Owls Sleep During the Day?

There are a number of reasons why owls sleep during the day. One of the main benefits is that it allows them to conserve energy. Owls are active predators and spend a lot of energy hunting at night. By sleeping during the day, they can save up their energy for hunting at night.

Another reason owls sleep during the day is to avoid becoming prey themselves. Many animals that hunt at night, such as coyotes, also prey on owls when the opportunity arises. By sleeping during the day, owls can avoid being seen by these predators. Some other potential owl predators include eagles and hawks, which are more active during the day, so owls remain inactive during these hours to avoid potential run-ins with larger birds of prey. 

Of all the reasons why owls sleep during the day, this is the strongest — availability of food is greater for the owl after the sun goes down. Mice, rats, opossums, and other rodents are most active at night. The owl takes advantage of its excellent night vision and hearing to hunt these when they are most vulnerable. 

How Do Owls Sleep?

Most owls sleep with their eyes closed. They usually tuck their head under one wing while they are sleeping. This allows them to be more aware of what is going on around them and to quickly take flight if necessary. 

It’s not uncommon for owls to take short naps during the day, especially if they have been hunting all night and need to rest. It’s not uncommon for owls to sleep face down on a branch or on the floor (if it’s kept inside). Baby owls are especially known to sleep facedown, as their heads are too heavy to hold up while sleeping. If you want to learn more about how owls sleep check out our article on it here

What Other Factors Influence Owl Sleeping Patterns?

The weather can influence when and where an owl sleeps. If it is cold outside, an owl may choose to sleep in a tree cavity or nest to stay warm. If it is hot out, the owl may seek out a shady spot to cool off. 

Owls are also known to change their sleeping patterns based on the season. In the winter, when there are shorter days, owls may sleep more to help conserve energy and body heat. In the summer, when the days are longer, they may be more active at night and sleep less during the day, as food is more available and the days are much hotter. 

What Else Do Owls Do During the Day?

Owls are nocturnal creatures, which means they sleep during the day and are active at night. Although they do most of their hunting at night, owls are not always asleep during the day. Owls need around 12 hours of sleep per day, but they don’t spend the rest of their waking time hunting. Sometimes, they may be roosting, which is when an owl perches on a branch or in a tree and rests. 

Roosting helps the owl stay hidden from potential predators and gives it a chance to rest and conserve energy between hunts. Owls may also use this time to preen their feathers, which keeps them clean and free of dust, dirt, and parasites. 

Preening also helps owls keep their feathers in good condition so they can insulate the owl’s body and help it fly more efficiently. 


Owls are fascinating creatures with some interesting sleeping habits. Although they sleep during most of the day, they are not always asleep. They may be roosting or preening their feathers. Owls need around 12 hours of sleep per day and break it up into many smaller sleep sessions. They usually get all of their sleep during the daylight hours to save up energy for their nightly hunt, which often covers long distances and requires much effort. Essentially, the owl’s food is more available at night, so that’s when they are most active.