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Top 5 Small Owl breeds For Pets

Do you remember the Harry Potter series and a little snowy owl? At that time, overnight, viewers started taking interest in keeping owls such as Hedwig as a pet.

You might have landed here to know more about small owl breeds for pets. But keeping an owl as a pet is not so easy, because ultimately, it’s a wild animal.

Here you are going to know the hard work that is required for petting an owl. Before you go searching for an owl as a pet, let’s get a brief info about the top 5 small owls breeds.

Small Owl Breeds In A Short List

It’s a myth that the Furry Companions don’t let the owls become good pets. 

The elf owl is the smallest owl, which lives in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. 

The small owl breeds are generally more than 10 inches and less than 18 inches in size. They are adorable and handy to hold. Those small owl breeds are 

  • Barn Owl
  • Speckled Owl
  • Oriental Bay Owl
  • Mountain Scops Owl
  • Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Many people get confused about Birds and Owls. Well, owls are known as the birds that belong to the order Strigiformes. Also, they are known as raptors or birds of prey. 

Generally, owls used their sharp talons and curved bills for hunting. But, eagles and owls are not the same at all. Different types of owls’ information are here.

The owls’ breeds depend on special conditions or temperatures for survival. There are approx 250 Breeds of Owls over the world, and many of them are nocturnal birds.

Top 5 Small Owl Breeds For You To Keep As Pets

Below we have listed the top 5 small owl breeds that you can keep as pets. Well, here you will understand the size, shape, appearance, and price of each owl breed.

Breed SizeAppearanceCost
Barn Owl13 inches to 15 inches White heart-shaped face, white chest, and brown spots over the body.$150 to $900
Speckled Owl15 inches to 18 inches Dark brown, barred tail, dark brown eye, and white spots (on the head and breast).$1,000
Oriental Bay Owl8 inches to 12 inches A small nocturnal bird, short wings, short tail, short ear, and heart-shaped face.It varies from one region to another 
Mountain Scops Owl5 inches to 8 inchesBrown-orange rufous plumage, face color is light rufous, and light brown bars.$500 to $1,000
Northern Saw-Whet Owl7 inches to 10 inches Reddish-brown body, dark-colored bills, big eyes, three stripes tail, and feathered legs.$500 to $1,000
Size, appearance and price comparison of small owl breeds

Barn Owl

Barn small Owl breeds
Barn breed of Owl

The Tyto alba or Barn owl is the most common species of owl that can be found in almost every corner of the world except desert and polar regions. 

Several scientists believed that the barn owl breed originated as a dweller in high clay cliffs of Europe. There are many advantages of petting a barn, especially in the winter

The ideal size of this breed is approx 13 inches to 15 inches. Due to their small size, you can lift them up easily

The barn owl is known to stay quiet and tends to be less territorial than different raptors. So, petting this breed demands early training from an expert. 

Barn owls have large eyes, soft feathers, cervical bones, and well-developed facial disks. They can turn their head at a 180-degree angle.

The Barn Owl has very good hearing and vision for catching prey at night. If you want to pet this breed, then be careful while leaving them with children. They love roaming around, so keep them out for refreshment. 

The cost of a barn owl is $150 to $900 approx. It is costly but still worth buying. 

Speckled owl 

The spectacled owl is native to the neotropics. They are known as a resident breeder in forests from Trinidad and southern Mexico, through Central America, south to Paraguay, northwestern Argentina, and southern Brazil.

They are small in size, generally, 15 inches to 18 inches. While their weight is approx 1 pound. 

The spectacled owls are mostly active at night and most dominant. However, also forage for food in the morning or daytime. This owl breed may live up to 17 years.

The spectacled owl responds in various ways in different temperature conditions. During the summer, they augment heat loss by showing the pads of feet or legs. So you can get the sign by their actions.

The spectacled owls are least responsive and neither vocally stimulated. It is not safe to leave an owl with any family member or children at your home.

You can buy a spectacled owl at approx $1,000. 

Oriental Bay Owl

Oriental Bay Owl
Oriental Bay Owl

The Oriental Bay Owls are known as Common Bay or Asian Bay Owls. They are completely active during the night. They can be found throughout South and Southeast Asia.

Their size is approx 8 inches to 12 inches. Because of the small size, you can easily hold an Oriental Bay Owl in your hands. 

The head of this owl breed is broad, while the ears are tufted slightly. With a striking angular facial disk, they have dark V-shaped facial markings.

A nocturnal bird (the Oriental Bay Owl) roosts during the day in hollows and holes in tree trunks. This owl breed is not very alert or less active when roosting, so can be easily approached.

Although the bay owls are smaller in size and look like barn owls. The Bay owls are also have been known for their V-or-U-shaped faces.

They don’t need special food as they can eat small rodents (mice or rats), birds, bats, frogs, lizards, and large insects (grasshoppers or beetles).

Their price is not specific because it can differ according to different dealers. 

Mountain scops owl

The mountain scops owl or Otus spilocephalus are referred to as the spotted scops owl. It is a Strigidae family’s species of owl.

They are commonly found in parts of Asia, including Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan.

Their size is 5 inches to 8 inches. As they are very small in size to fit into your palm. 

The Mountain Scops Owls are nocturnal birds, which start their activity or become active after or during dusk. They have a good sense of hearing too. 

Small brown owls of montane or hilly broadleaf forests can rarely be found in gardens or parks. With yellow bright eyes, they have dark brown above, paler on the underparts and face. 

Also, mountain scops owls have a bright stripe of white color between their wings and back. Their brows are frosty white and much shorter ear tufts.

As you know owls are wild animals so keep an eye on them when you take them out of their cage.

You can easily buy a Mountain Scops Owl from online or offline dealers at $500 to $1,000.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl and Mountain Scops Owl breeds
Northern Saw-Whet Owl and Mountain Scops Owl breeds

Northern Saw-Whet Owl

The northern saw-whet owl or Aegolius acadicus is a kind of small owl breed that originated in North America. It is known as the smallest owl breed in the North American region. You can find them in dense thickets, often at eye level, and 20 feet up. 

The size of the northern saw-whet owl is 7 inches to 10 inches. And best known for the smallest owl breed in North America. 

They are strictly Nocturnal and begin the activity in late dusk. The northern saw-whet owl’s breed has sophisticated hearing and excellent low-light vision. This owl breed can find its prey in the dark by sight.

It is a small short-bodied owl with, short tail, a large rounded head, and no ear tufts. Their face is outlined in dark brown with white streaks. It has white and brown stripes over the bellies and chests. And the color of the eyes is yellow. 

The Northern Saw-whet breed of owl eats deer mice, shrews, young squirrels, voles, large insects, and small birds.

You can buy this owl species at $500 to $1,000. 


5 Mysterious Facts About Owls

Before petting an owl, you should know a few mysterious facts about them.

  • The Owls can rotate their necks 270 degrees.
  • They have 3 eyelids- one for sleeping, one for keeping its eyes clean, and one for blinking.
  • Owls are carnivores. Usually, they eat mammals, rodents, fish, birds, and insects.
  • Female owls are more aggressive, larger, and heavier than males.
  • Owls are found in every corner of the world except Antarctica.


Owls demand a lot of space in your home. A cage in the corner of a room will not be sufficient for them. So, choose them as a pet after arranging all the necessities. 

Many people assume that owls can’t be good pets as they are shown in TV shows, movies, and books. But, your owl will be an excellent pet, if they are trained by licensed and certified trainers. 

We hope this article might help you in understanding the top 5 small owl breeds. If you are interested in petting an owl, then you can sponsor one from a wildlife center. 

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