Baby Owls Sleep Face Down Because Their Heads Are Too Heavy

If you couldn’t imagine baby owls getting any cuter, it turns out that they can. Consider for a second—have you ever thought about how the creatures take a nap? We know that adult owls sleep upright, but the owlets can’t do that yet as their heads are too heavy. So until they get large enough to nap sitting up, the tiny birds have an alternate solution; they lie down on their stomachs and turn their heads to the side before drifting to dreamland.

Miraculously, the young owls do this all while resting on a tree branch. And they don’t fall off, thanks in part to the strength of their back toe called the hallux. The hallux tethers the creature to the branch and it won’t move until the owlet bends its leg.

Journalist Mark Rees recently made his own discovery of how baby owls sleep. In a now-viral tweet, he shared a picture of an owlet who is napping like we’d imagine a human would—on its stomach and totally conked out. To see more of this adorable sight, scroll down.

Baby owls (owlets) sleep on their stomachs laying face down, and it's adorable.

Caught this cutie taking a nap from r/Superbowl

Baby owls sleeping

Barred owlet fledgling sleeping


Screech owlet-I just like to sleep on my tummy

Baby owls sleeping

The owlets don't sleep for very long, and when they wake, they look like many of us do.

Great Horned Owlet

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Stunning Portraits of Owls Captured in Up-Close Detail

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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