What Bird Sounds Like An Owl: A Complete Guide

“What bird sounds like an owl? Well, it’s not a riddle, but the answer might surprise you! Prepare to be enchanted by the nocturnal symphony of nature’s mimicry maestros. 

From cheeky impostors to stealthy echoes, let’s dive into the fascinating world of avian mimicry!”

What Bird Sounds Like An Owl?Bird Sounds Like An OwlWhen it comes to birds with captivating and mysterious sounds, one species stands out – the owl. 

Owls have long fascinated humans with their haunting hoots and enigmatic presence. 

In this article, we’ll explore various bird species that share some similarity in their vocalizations with owls and shed light on their distribution, habitat, physical characteristics, social behavior, diet, ecological and cultural importance. 

So, let’s delve into the world of avian wonder and learn about the birds that sound like owls.

Related Article: What Kibble Do Snowy Owls Eat?

Distribution and Habitat

Owls, with their remarkable adaptations, can be found on every continent except Antarctica. 

They inhabit diverse habitats, ranging from dense forests to open grasslands, from deserts to tundras. 

This wide distribution has allowed them to become an integral part of various ecosystems around the world.

Physical Characteristics

One key trait that distinguishes owls is their facial disk – a circular arrangement of feathers around their eyes. 

This disk helps funnel sound towards their ears, aiding in exceptional hearing capabilities, enabling them to pinpoint prey even in complete darkness

Moreover, owls possess powerful talons, sharp beaks, and unique plumage patterns that allow for silent flight.

Related Article: What Are Female Owls Called?

Social and Mating Behavior

Owls are often solitary birds, preferring to spend most of their time alone. 

However, during the mating season, they become more vocal to attract potential mates. 

Their courtship rituals involve elaborate calls and aerial displays, showcasing their agility and prowess.


Owls are carnivorous predators with a diverse diet. 

They primarily feed on small mammals such as rodents, rabbits, and insects. 

Some larger owl species have been known to hunt fish and birds as well. 

Their exceptional hunting skills and ability to rotate their heads up to 270 degrees make them formidable nocturnal hunters.

Ecological and Cultural Importance

Owls play a vital role in maintaining ecological balance. 

By keeping populations of rodents and insects in check, they help control potential pest outbreaks. 

Additionally, these enigmatic birds have been deeply ingrained in various cultures and mythologies throughout history. 

Often associated with wisdom, magic, and mystery, owls hold a significant place in human folklore and storytelling.

How to Tell an Owl Call From a Mourning Dove Call

The mournful cooing of the mourning dove can sometimes be mistaken for an owl’s hoot. 

However, there are subtle differences that can help distinguish the two. 

The owl’s hoot typically has a rhythmic pattern and is more prolonged, while the mourning dove’s coo is softer and often sounds like “coo-oo, coo, coo.” 

Additionally, the owl’s call may vary depending on the species, whereas the mourning dove’s call remains consistent.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mourning Doves

Are mourning doves migratory birds?

migratory birds

Yes, mourning doves are migratory birds, and their migratory patterns can vary depending on their geographical location.

What do mourning doves eat?

Mourning doves primarily feed on seeds and grains, but they may also consume small insects and fruits.

How can you attract mourning doves to your garden?

To attract mourning doves, provide a variety of seeds and grains in bird feeders. 

They also prefer open areas with perches, so ensure you have suitable spots for them to rest.

Mourning Dove

The mourning dove, scientifically known as Zenaida macroura, is a graceful bird found throughout North and Central America. 

With their muted grayish-brown plumage and slender bodies, mourning doves exude elegance. 

Their distinctive cooing, often heard at dawn and dusk, adds a soothing ambiance to their surroundings.

Other Doves

Apart from the mourning dove, several other dove species exist worldwide, each with its unique vocalizations and characteristics. 

Some notable ones include the Whip-Poor-Will, Western Nightjar, Steller’s Jay, Pigeon, Common Nighthawk, Wilson’s Snipe, Chuck-Will’s-Widow, and Tawny Frogmouth.


The Whip-Poor-Will is a nocturnal bird known for its repetitive call that sounds like it’s saying “whip-poor-will.”

Native to the eastern parts of North America, this bird is often heard during warm summer evenings.

Western Nightjar

The Western Nightjar is a fascinating species found in the western parts of North America. 

Its haunting calls add an air of mystery to the moonlit nights in its habitat.

Steller’s Jay

Steller’s Jay, a striking bird with vibrant blue plumage, is native to western North America. 

Although not a nocturnal bird, its vocalizations are intriguing and can be occasionally confused with owl calls.


Pigeons, known for their adaptability to urban environments, have a unique cooing sound. 

While different from owl calls, the echoes of their coos can sometimes be mistaken for distant hoots.

Common Nighthawk

Despite their name, the Common Nighthawks are not true hawks. 

These aerial acrobats produce a “peent” sound during their aerial displays, making them stand out from typical owl calls.

Wilson’s Snipe

The Wilson’s Snipe, a bird known for its remarkable camouflage and long bills, produces winnowing sounds during its courtship flights. 

These sounds may occasionally resemble the calls of owls.


The Chuck-Will’s-Widow is a nightjar species known for its repetitive and melodious calls that resonate in the warm evenings of the southeastern United States.

Tawny Frogmouth

Although native to Australia, the Tawny Frogmouth shares some characteristics with owls, including nocturnal habits and cryptic plumage. 

Their low, booming calls are unique to their species.

In conclusion, the world of birds that sound like owls is vast and diverse, with each species contributing to the symphony of nature in its unique way. 

From the mournful coo of the mourning dove to the haunting calls of the nightjars, these birds enrich our ecosystems and captivate our hearts with their enigmatic sounds. 

Observing and understanding these avian wonders adds to the richness of our natural experiences and strengthens our connection with the intricate web of life that surrounds us.


FAQs About What Bird Sounds Like An Owl

What bird sounds like it’s laughing?

The kookaburra is known for its distinctive laugh-like call. It’s often described as sounding like human laughter and is native to Australia.

What bird sounds like it’s laughing at you?

The kea, a parrot species native to New Zealand, has a mischievous and playful call that can resemble laughter. 

They are intelligent and curious birds.

Which bird call sounds like danger?

The call of the red-tailed hawk is often associated with danger. 

It’s a sharp, high-pitched scream that can signal its presence in the area.

What bird laughs at night?

The great horned owl has a deep, haunting call that some people interpret as a laugh. 

It’s often heard during the nighttime.

What bird sounds like a human talking?

The lyrebird from Australia is an expert mimic and can imitate human speech, along with other sounds it hears in its environment.

What bird call sounds like moaning?

The mourning dove’s call is a soft and melancholic cooing sound, often described as a mournful moan.

What bird sounds like a toy?

The northern pygmy owl has a call that resembles the squeak of a toy or a bouncing ball, which is quite unique for a bird.

What bird sounds like a chuckle?

The barred owl produces a call that sounds like a chuckling laugh, especially when heard in a series of “who-cooks-for-you” hoots.

What bird sounds like a flute?

The hermit thrush has a beautiful, flute-like song that is melodious and soothing to the ears.

What bird sounds like a chicken?

The common loon’s vocalizations are sometimes compared to the clucking sounds of a chicken.

What is sparrow sound?

Sparrows typically produce a series of cheerful chirps and tweets that vary among species, but they are generally melodic and pleasant to hear.

What is pigeon sound?

Pigeons often coo gently, creating a soft and repetitive sound that can be quite calming.

What is the sound of crow called?

Crows caw loudly, and their call is often described as harsh and croaky.

What is the sound of Eagle?

Eagles emit high-pitched, piercing whistles, with some species producing a shrill, screaming call that echoes through their habitats.

What else sounds like an owl?

Owls are known for their distinctive “hoo” or “hoot” sounds, but other animals and birds can also create similar sounds.

Mourning doves and collared doves have a cooing sound that can be mistaken for owl calls.

What bird makes a Woo Hoo sound?

The bird that makes a “Woo Hoo” sound is the Common Loon.

These water birds are famous for their haunting calls, often described as a combination of “woo” and “hoo,” which resonates across lakes and ponds.

Final Thoughts About What Bird Sounds Like An Owl

What bird sounds like an owl, known for its haunting nocturnal calls, evokes a sense of mystery and wisdom. Its resonant hoots pierce the silence of the night, stirring ancient instincts in human hearts. 

With a unique cadence, the owl’s voice seems to carry secrets from the depths of the forest. 

Its sound lingers in the mind, creating an ethereal atmosphere, drawing attention to the wonders of nature. 

The owl’s voice reminds us to embrace the darkness, to find beauty in the unseen, and to seek knowledge beyond the veil of shadows. 

Its melodic notes leave an indelible mark on our souls.


Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.