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Pueo (Hawaiian Short-eared Owl)

Scientific name: Asio flammeus sandwichensis

What is it about owls that inspires so many myths and legends? Owls are a symbol of wisdom; their watchful eyes penetrate the darkness, seeing all. Flying by night, they are guides, messengers and navigators of the supernatural. The Romans saw owls as omens of death, while the Greeks saw owls as a sign of victory in battle. To the Hawaiians, the pueo, or Hawaiian Short-eared Owl, was worshiped as a god or a guardian spirit.

The Hawaiian Short-eared Owl is the only native owl in Hawai'i (the common barn owl was introduced in the 1950's as rodent control). Most active at dawn and at dusk (and sometimes, at mid-day), Pueo have large eyes that allow them to hunt in dim light. In fact, the eyes of owls are so large, relative to their heads, that they can't look from side to side; that's why owls have such flexible necks.

Soft, specialized feathers help the pueo to hunt in silence. Besides rodents, pueo also eat insects and rarely, birds in open, grassy fields and dry forests.

To learn more about Pueo, visit Pueo, The Protector - The Hawaiian Owl, by Sophia Schweitzer

School paper got you down? Need info on wildlife? Visit The Animal Diversity Web

To The Top / Pueo Origami

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