what is the owl in harry potter called

what is the owl in harry potter called

The Owls of Harry Potter BANNER

By Laura Erickson (a.ok.a. “Professor McGonagowl”)

You’re reading: what is the owl in harry potter called

"Professor McGonagowl" and Archimedes, an Eastern Screech-Owl

(SPOILER dialogue of Hedwig in E book 7—Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—is right here.)

No spoilers past this level:

Now that 5 Harry Potter motion pictures and all seven books have been launched, folks have grow to be very acquainted with owls. This web site provides you with details about owls each in the true world and in J.Okay. Rowling’s magical world. I dwell in the USA, however Harry Potter lives in England. Some owls dwell in each locations, and a few are discovered on just one aspect of the pond. I’ve studied owls for a very long time and browse all seven Harry Potter books and seen the films, however I merely couldn’t have written this and made it authoritative with out quite a lot of assist from lots of people. You probably have info I ought to add, corrections, or different feedback, please e mail me.

In J.Okay. Rowling’s great universe, owls bridge the magical and muggle world, carrying messages, packages, and even Nimbus 2000s with ease as they make it clear to muggles that when a message must get via, it WILL get via. One Snowy Owl named Hedwig additionally supplies heat companionship when a lonely wizard named Harry wants it.

You probably have questions on owls, first look to see if you will discover the solutions right here. If not, you possibly can e mail Professor McGonagowl. As all the time, you probably have questions, feedback, or corrections, please let me know. To get extra info, see:

  • Official Harry Potter Books (Canada) Web site
  • Official Harry Potter Books (United States) Web site
  • Meet J.Okay. Rowling
  • Official Harry Potter Film Web site
  • Attention-grabbing article about owls within the Harry Potter Lexicon
  • Further Details about Owls of the World
  • Further Details about North American Owls
  • Details about many North American animals
  • American Humane Affiliation’s evaluate of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Film #5) (Thanks, Katty!)


Harry’s owl Hedwig is a Snowy Owl. She’s a feminine however, within the film, the actors enjoying her are males. (One of many owls enjoying Hedwig was additionally the very first solid member to be chosen!!) You possibly can inform that the owl enjoying Hedwig within the picture is known as a male as a result of his plumage is so white—feminine Snowy Owls have darkish markings. Females are additionally larger and heavier, and so could be somewhat tougher for human actors to deal with. Wholesome males common about 4 kilos, females virtually 4 1/2 kilos. They’ve highly effective talons. You possibly can’t see within the picture that Daniel Radcliffe is sporting thick leather-based safety on his arm. Claws that may kill a big duck via thick feathers could be fairly exhausting on human arms, too, even when the owl is simply making an attempt to steadiness itself.

Harry and Hedwig

Seven totally different owls performed the position of Hedwig. Their names are Gizmo, Kasper, Oops, Swoops, Oh Oh, Elmo and Bandit. I discovered some fascinating issues on The Pet Place web site about Harry Potter.

Actual Snowy Owls dwell within the arctic tundra, in North America, Europe, and Asia. Just a few breed within the northern British Isles. Some misidentified cave artwork by Paleolithic folks of Europe contains owls on a cave wall in Ariege, France; in lots of sources (corresponding to earlier iterations of this very web page), together with authoritative ones, the drawing is recognized as Snowy Owl, however this primary owl depicted in artwork wherever on this planet is sort of actually a Lengthy-eared Owl, as defined by the Bradshaw Basis.

Snowy Owls are predators, and eat solely animals, by no means vegetation. Their major prey species is the lemming, a fierce little rodent smaller than a chipmunk. Lemmings have monumental inhabitants fluctuations from one yr to the subsequent. When lemmings are considerable, Snowy Owls could eat hardly anything. They normally swallow every lemming entire, head first, but when they’re not too hungry, they often chunk off simply the pinnacle, and even eat components in small bits. However when lemming numbers are down, Snowy Owls eat quite a lot of different issues. Relying on the place they dwell, they could eat quite a lot of snowshoe hares, grebes and geese (particularly Horned Grebes), ptarmigans, floor squirrels, rats, partridge, and even fish. When a Snowy Owl’s face will get gooped up with blood and guts, it typically cleans up by wiping its face within the newurbanhabitat.com can see extra images of untamed Snowy Owls on my Snowy Owl flickr photostream. International warming is predicted to harm Snowy Owls over a lot of their vary. Hedwig is fortunate she lives in a magical world!


The Weasley household has a really clumsy owl named Errol. Within the motion pictures he’s a Nice Grey Owl. I don’t suppose his species is definitely talked about within the books, however my buddy Katty from Belgium discovered that he IS known as a Nice Grey Owl on J.Okay. Rowling’s Web page. Measured from head to tail, the Nice Grey Owl is the largest owl on this planet. However regardless that they’re an inch or so longer than Snowy Owls and look simply as massive, they weigh a lot lower than Snowy Owls—typically lower than half! Additionally, their wingspan isn’t so long as that of Snowy Owls, in all probability as a result of their wings don’t carry practically as a lot weight. Nice Grey Owls specialize on mice and voles, and have very skinny toes in comparison with different enormous owls.

Errol at the Weasleys.

In North America, wild Nice Grey Owls dwell in Alaska and far of Canada all the way down to northeastern Minnesota, and down into the mountainous areas of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. In Europe and Asia, they’re present in northern Scandinavia, Russia, Siberia, northern Mongolia, Northern Manchuria, Amurland, and Sakhalin. They make it to Nice Britain solely within the magical world of Harry Potter.

Actual Nice Grey Owls can not carry very heavy objects as a result of they themselves are so mild (normally lower than 3 kilos!), and their ft are pretty weak. Once I was caring for injured birds, I as soon as needed to go rescue a Nice Grey Owl that I then transferred to a raptor specialist. I had it for a short time, and was amazed at how innocuous its ft have been. I usually took care of songbirds, so didn’t have the heavy gloves usually worn when doing raptor work, however this owl’s talons didn’t harm my naked arms in any respect. Usually over 90% of a Nice Grey Owl’s weight-reduction plan is one species—meadow voles. Once they eat bigger prey, corresponding to rabbits and squirrels, they have to sit on the animal for a lot of hours, biting off small chunks of meat.

![Laura holding a Great Gray Owl] (https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6001/newurbanhabitat.com I’m holding this wild, however injured, Nice Grey Owl in my naked arms. It’s not tame—it went on to be efficiently rehabbed at The Raptor Heart—however Nice Grey Owl talons aren’t very highly effective in comparison with different owls.)

The Weasley’s Nice Grey Owl, Errol, could be very clumsy. Actual owls merely can not crash the way in which Errol does within the film. Not even the owl actor who performs Errol may actually crash like that—like different birds, owls have hole bones and are a lot too fragile to slam into tables and home windows. Within the film, they filmed an actual Nice Grey Owl flying gracefully via the Errol scenes. Then they substituted a dummy owl for the crashes.

![Wild Great Gray Owl perched on a tiny branch] (https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5044/newurbanhabitat.com Discover how skinny the department is supporting this Nice Grey Owl’s weight.)

![Wild Great Gray Owl] (https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8657/newurbanhabitat.com Nice Grey Owls are some of the spectacular of all owls.)

You possibly can see many images of untamed Nice Grey Owls on my Nice Grey Owl flickr photostream.


Pigwidgeon is so minute that some folks have prompt to me that he is likely to be a Little Owl, one very small owl present in England. This owl’s scientific identify is Athene noctua, and it’s pretty frequent in a lot of its vary, in southern and central Europe and Asia, and northern Africa. Little Owls aren’t native to England, however have been launched there within the late 1800s. Little Owls aren’t discovered wherever naturally in North America, however they’re in the identical genus, and intently associated to, the Burrowing Owl. Just like the Burrowing Owl, the Little Owl is present in open habitats, and is usually lively within the daytime in addition to the night time. The Little Owl usually perches on posts and different look-outs. Like most tiny owls, the Little Owl eats many bugs, which it will possibly catch on the wing.

Little Owl

Burrowing Owl

The Little Owl does have some fascinating mythology of its personal, being the sacred owl of the goddess Athene—that’s the way it obtained its scientific identify. And it’s proven on cash from historical Athens.

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However in accordance with J.Okay. Rowling’s personal web site, and supported by Mary Grandpre‘s pretty illustration in Chapter 22 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Pigwidgeon is a Eurasian (Frequent) Scops Owl.


This owl, even tinier than a Little Owl and extra intently associated to the screech owls of America, has “ear tufts”—feathers that stick up on the pinnacle and appear to be ears. The owl illustration for this chapter clearly exhibits these feather tufts.

Scops owl

We hoped the moviemakers would use a scops owl when Pigwidgeon lastly appeared, however he wasn’t within the motion pictures in any respect, which has been a giant disappointment to me and plenty of others!

What would Pigwidgeon sound like? You possibly can hearken to recordings of assorted species of scops owls right here.

Ron appeared resentful to have such a tiny animal in comparison with Harry’s Hedwig. However we guess he didn’t must work practically as exhausting to scrub up after Pigwidgeon as Harry did for Hedwig! Owl poop is smelly and messy. (Except they’re magical owls—we discover that Harry’s black cloak by no means has a single white spot on it!)

Malfoy’s Owl

Malfoy’s owl is the most important, heaviest owl in Europe, an Eagle Owl. Eagle Owls aren’t present in the USA—they dwell in Europe and Asia. Eagle Owls aren’t native to Nice Britain, however a number of pairs have escaped captivity. Scientists hope they don’t grow to be established within the wild in England as a result of like all launched animals, they’ll virtually assuredly disturb the steadiness of nature already there. However of their native vary these magnificent birds are an essential a part of that steadiness. Eagle Owls have oranger eyes than Nice Horned Owls, are barely bigger, and have heavy, vertical streaks on the entrance, quite than the finer, horizontal barring of the Nice Horned Owl. Once more, discover the way it perches with the 2 regular entrance toes dealing with ahead. (The “thumb” toe and the again toe face backward).

Eagle Owl on the Privet Dr. sign.

Percy’s Screech Owl

I didn’t pay sufficient consideration to a different owl—Percy’s! Fortuitously, my buddy Katty writes:

Within the Harry Potter Lexicon about owls, they talked about a screech owl. And in chapter 5 of Prisoner of Azkaban, you will discover: “…Percy’s screech owl, …” (when Rowling described the Weasleys, Hermione and Harry leaving the Leaky Cauldron.)

Contemplating that my very personal owl, Archimedes, is a screech owl, I actually ought to have discovered this by myself!

Archimedes, my own education Screech-Owl

Different Owls Showing Right here and There

All through the Harry Potter motion pictures, there are many owls right here and there.

The owl proven in most of the posters, screensaver, and different promotional materials for the film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, is a Nice Horned Owl.

Harry Potter movie poster

This owl lives in North, Central, and South America, however is just not discovered within the wild in England or every other place on that aspect of the Atlantic Ocean. I don’t know if this promotional materials was utilized in England, but it surely makes quite a lot of sense for an American owl to ship invites to the film to folks in Canada and the U.S. Discover that the owl has two entrance claws on every foot dealing with ahead. Owls have three entrance toes and one again toe on every foot. However one of many entrance claws is opposable, and rotates backward the way in which we use our thumb. So the way in which this owl is carrying the letter to Harry is, certainly, precisely the way in which an actual owl would carry mail. Discover that owls choose air mail.

![The many owls descending upon Privet Drive] (http://media.lauraerickson.com/photos/newurbanhabitat.com Actual owls wouldn’t be snug being so near different owls. This scene was made utilizing particular filming methods.)

In actual life, massive species of owls typically eat smaller species. Actual owls are extraordinarily harassed by being close to different owls. However filming the scene proven above didn’t stress the owls. Why? This scene was filmed again and again, with totally different owls every time, after which the movies have been digitally manipulated to make it seem that every one the owls have been there collectively on the identical time.

![Great Gray Owl on Diagon Alley] (http://media.lauraerickson.com/photos/newurbanhabitat.com The primary Harry Potter film used owls rather a lot to ascertain the magical world.)

Notes in regards to the fourth film: My buddy Katty from Belgium, who’s blind so notices an incredible many sounds I don’t pay sufficient consideration to, writes:

Yesterday, I noticed the fourth movie and was fortunate to listen to totally different owl sounds. On this film, we entered the owlery (not a round stone room as described within the books, but it surely appeared to be positioned exterior the varsity). I don’t know in case you can see a lot of the owl species throughout this scene, however I heard the sounds of:

  • little owl
  • barn owl (perhaps)
  • eagle owl
  • snowy owl
  • ???different species I didn’t recognise. They appeared to be very lively, However I don’t know whether it is night or day within the movie.

Through the movie, you possibly can hear different owl species, however I don’t know in case you can see them. I heard:

  • little owl (on the graveyard
  • tawney owl
  • ??barn owl

The one species (and owl character) I didn’t see or hear was Pigwidgeon.

Regularly Requested Questions

May an actual owl actually carry a Nimbus 2000?

![Hedwig delivering Harry’s Nimbus 2000] (http://media.lauraerickson.com/photos/newurbanhabitat.com Hedwig has a gift for Harry! Is there actually a brush in that bag?)

Snowy Owl usually kill snowshoe hares and may carry them to their nestlings. A snowshoe hare weighs over 1 kilogram. I weighed one corn broom as 0.6 kilograms, so the load of an actual broom wouldn’t be an issue for a Snowy Owl. And a Snowy Owl’s talons can simply grip a brush deal with. So sure, an actual Snowy Owl may actually carry a Nimbus 2000. However the Snowy Owl on this scene merely flew via, after which the filmmakers digitally added the broom. This wasn’t too exhausting to do. Within the arctic tundra, the place there are not any timber for Snowy Owls to bonk into in flight, they usually dangle their legs in flight. So on this scene, the true owl’s legs are already in place to be carrying one thing.

Tiny owls can simply carry mice, so letters and birthday greetings could be fairly simple for them to handle. However in accordance with The Pet Place:

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Though all through the film, it seems the owls carry messages and even the broom, they didn’t really maintain the objects. As an alternative, they have been hooked up to the birds utilizing an invisible harness. Once they reached the precise level, a coach pulled a twine, which launched the message or object.

Additionally, discover that the broom that was delivered within the film was actually made out of paper.

Can actual owls be blissful in cages?

The cage Harry usually retains Hedwig in is means too small for any actual owl, and the tiny Victorian cage used within the film could be unlawful to maintain an owl in both the U.S. or Nice Britain. Nice Britain requires all chicken cages to be large enough to permit the chicken to stretch its wings totally with out touching something. To maintain it in something smaller requires a veterinary certificates. However the owl enjoying Hedwig might be used to a reasonably small cage when he goes locations, the way in which canines or cats get used to a small pet service or kennel, so long as they don’t want to remain in it too lengthy or too usually.

Hedwig in a cage

Are actual owls ever lively within the daytime?

Owls that dwell within the Arctic, “the land of the midnight solar,” clearly have to have the ability to hunt in vivid circumstances. Snowy Owls can hunt by day or night time. And another owls are very diurnal—the Northern Hawk-Owl and the extra tropical Pygmy-Owls are lively within the daytime.

![Northern Hawk Owl] (https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5047/newurbanhabitat.com Northern Hawk Owl, lively at noon.)

Many owls are crepuscular—most lively at twilight. And a few are lively ONLY at night time—the tiny Noticed-whet Owl and Boreal Owl are good examples.

Boreal Owl

My very own little owl, Archimedes, jogs my memory of a cat. He’s lively when he feels prefer it and sleeps when he feels prefer it, day or night time.

Archimedes eating a white mouse

Within the wild, Screech Owls roost and nest in tree cavities or nest containers, and are very susceptible to jays, robins,and crows within the daytime, however they want some sunshine to supply Vitamin D, in order that they spend a lot of the day with their head poking out of the opening. If a cranky robin or jay spots one, the little owl simply retreats again into the cavity.

Can folks actually have owls for pets?

Within the magical world of Harry Potter, a wizard or witch can personal an actual owl. In the true world, in England, individuals are allowed to maintain owls supplied the chicken could be proven to be captive bred or discovered disabled and unable to be returned to the wild—to be able to present owls for cash or to breed them on the market, folks within the U.Okay. have to have what is called an “Article 10 certificates,” which features a lot as a licence for the chicken.

Within the U.S., conserving owls for pets is all the time in opposition to the regulation. Within the U.S., owls and all different native birds are protected by the Migratory Chicken Treaty Act, and can’t be possessed by anybody who doesn’t have authorized permits for analysis or schooling, or within the case of an injured owl, authorized rehabilitation permits. I’ve permits to maintain one Jap Screech-Owl for schooling. I first wanted to show that I’ve a very good motive to make use of an owl for academic packages, and that I may present wholesome, secure, and comfy housing and good meals, to be able to apply for a allow from the Minnesota Division of Pure Sources. I wanted a allow from my state to be able to apply for a federal allow from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. After I had each permits, I used to be allowed to maintain one screech owl, however wasn’t allowed to take it from the wild. I needed to discover a rehabilitation heart that had an owl that had recovered however couldn’t be launched into the wild. I’ve had Archimedes since 2000.

![“Professor McGonagowl” and Archimedes] (https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6050/newurbanhabitat.com I want state and federsal permits to maintain Archimedes as my schooling chicken)

How can I see an actual, dwell owl within the wild?

Owls are secretive within the daytime, as a result of they’re usually attacked by crows, ravens, jays, robins, and different birds. If you happen to’re strolling within the woods or in a park and listen to what seems like exceptionally indignant chickadees, or a lot of extraordinarily loud crows, test it out! They might be mobbing an owl. At nighttime you possibly can hear for owls, particularly in late winter and spring. To listen to how some owls sound, you possibly can take a look at Journey North’s owl dictionary.

Discover out in case your city or metropolis has an Audubon society or different chicken membership. Most chicken golf equipment have discipline journeys, and may have consultants alongside that will help you see all of the birds. They usually may need some particular journeys simply to seek out owls!

How can I assist owls?

There are a number of issues we are able to do to assist owls.

  • Purchase your Harry Potter books from the Canadian writer, Raincoast. This firm prints all of the Harry Potter books on 100% post-consumer recycled paper. This helps many sorts of owls as a result of a lot owl habitat is reduce all the way down to make paper.

  • Don’t waste paper. Recycle paper while you’re completed with it, and purchase recycled paper. How does this assist owls? On common, Individuals devour 738 kilos of paper per individual per yr. And far of this paper is wasted—over 40% of the trash Individuals throw away is paper. That provides as much as quite a lot of timber! And when forests are reduce to make paper, it hurts the birds that require older forest development. A technique it can save you paper is to cease getting unsolicited mail. 4 million TONS of unsolicited mail is shipped via the U.S. Postal Service, and half is rarely even opened. That is a gigantic waste of forests. This web site has details about easy issues you are able to do to get much less unsolicited mail.

  • Hold your cat indoors. Home cats kill hundreds of thousands of birds yearly. Not often, a Nice Horned Owls kills a cat, however since even the heaviest owl weighs solely 4 – 5 kilos, owls are at a severe drawback when in a struggle with a cat. Even when an owl survives an assault, a cat chunk or scratch can introduce micro organism resulting in deadly infections. Chicken lungs are on the again, making them particularly susceptible to puncture wounds. Additionally, cats kill quite a lot of mice. Besides in very city areas the place rats and mice are an issue for people, home cats destroy quite a lot of priceless owl meals, making it tougher for owls, particularly smaller species, to outlive. To be taught extra in regards to the significance of conserving your cat indoors, see the American Chicken Conservancy’s Cats Indoors marketing campaign web page.

  • Don’t let your canine chase birds. When an owl kills a big prey animal, it typically spends a number of minutes on the bottom consuming. Throughout this time, it will possibly simply be killed or badly injured by a canine. We all know of no less than one screech owl that was grabbed by a canine, and the tiny owl’s wing was damaged. If folks had not seen, it might have died, however now it’s in a rehab facility.

  • Depart useless timber standing. In the event that they completely should be reduce, then to do it within the late fall/early winter to make sure no infants are within the nest.

  • Put up a Wooden Duck/Screech Owl field or a Barred Owl nest platform. It’s not a good suggestion to construct each varieties shut to at least one one other, although!

  • Help an owl rehabilitation heart close to you. In Minnesota, The Raptor Heart does an incredible job of caring for injured and orphaned raptors. This web page lists many different rehabilitation amenities. If you already know of a spot that’s not listed, please e mail me.

  • Be part of a company that works to guard owls. My favourite American group that does analysis and schooling to assist all birds is the American Chicken Conservancy. The Rainforest Alliance protects tropical birds, together with the various owls that dwell there. The Royal Society for the Safety of Birds protects birds of the world with particular emphasis on the UK.

  • Don’t even take into consideration having an owl for a pet. Owls are protected by regulation, so it’s unlawful to maintain them in captivity within the U.S. with no license. However no less than as essential, owls are wild, pure birds requiring a wild, pure life. In cages they merely can not do all of the issues their our bodies have been designed for and their spirits require. Additionally, owls are in no way simple to look after: they should eat entire rodents or different entire animals, which should be contemporary, and their droppings are messy and smelly, requiring frequent clean-up. If you happen to yearn to deal with actual, dwell owls, volunteer to assist at a nature heart or rehabilitation heart.

  • If you happen to’re shopping for owl stuff, purchase them from Owl Stuff. Proceeds from the Owl Stuff web site go to conservation organizations.

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