The point might be an intuitive one to the experienced bird watcher, but it appears that morphological differences in an owl’s eye color might be an adaptation to foraging. Barn and barred owls have what seem to be opaque black marbles in their orbits and these, like other dark-eyed owls, prefer a nocturnal hunt. Possibly an adaptation for “invisibility” during moonlit evenings, the dark eyes reflect painfully little ambient light. The African eagle owl with its orange irises are crepuscular birds and thus prefer to forage at the break of dawn and dusk. While not true for all yellow-eyed owls, yellow irises are common to the agile daylight hunters. While it might be rare to see an owl hunt in midday, snowy owls, great grays and hawk owls will actively hunt even after the sun rises.
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