There are around 200 species of owls, recognisable by their wide heads, large eyes with binocular vision and upright stance. Owls – associated with wisdom in folklore – mostly hunt insects, smaller mammals and other birds. Here are some of our favourite owl photos from the archive.

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl adult with lizard, Rio Grande Valley, South Texas, USA (Image Broker/Robert Harding)

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum), adult with lizard prey, Willacy County, Rio Grande Valley, South Texas, USA

Boreal owl in nest, Yukon, Canada (National Geographic/Robert Harding)

Boreal owl in nest, Yukon, Canada

A western screech owl at the Denver Zoo, Colorado, USA (National Geographic/Robert Harding)

A western screech owl (Otus kennicottii) at the Denver Zoo, The Denver Zoo, Denver, Colorado, United States of America

Tawny owl adult in flight in Scotland (age fotostock/Robert Harding)

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Burrowing Owl, Florida, USA (age fotostock/Robert Harding)

Burrowing Owl (Speotyto cunicularia), Florida, USA

A portrait of a great horned owl, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA (National Geographic/Robert Harding)

A portrait of a great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), Lincoln, Nebraska, United States of America

Little owl in drainpipe, captive, United Kingdom (Ann & Steve Toon/Robert Harding)

Little owl (Athene noctua) in drainpipe, captive, United Kingdom, Europe

A short-eared owl at a raptor recovery center, Malcom, Nebraska, USA (National Geographic/R Harding)

A Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) at a raptor recovery center, Raptor Recovery Center, Malcom, Nebraska, United States of America

A captive great horned owl at a recovery center, Gibbon, Nebraska, USA (National Geographic/R Harding

A captive great horned owl at a recovery center, Gibbon, Nebraska, United States of America

Great grey owl (age fotostock/Robert Harding)

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Captive snowy owl (Ann & Steve Toon/Robert Harding)

Captive snowy owl (Nictea scandiaca)

Chicks of Northern hawk owl, native to Scandinavia and Eurasia, World Owl Trust, Cumbria, England (Ann & Steve Toon/Robert Harding)

Chicks of Northern hawk owl (Surnia ulula ulula), native to Scandinavia and Eurasia, captive, World Owl Trust, Cumbria, England, United Kingdom, Europe

Barn owl, Cumbria, England (Ann & Steve Toon/Robert Harding)

Barn owl (Tyto alba), captive, Cumbria, England, United Kingdom, Europe

Spotted eagle owl, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, encompassing the former Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, South Africa (James Hager/Robert Harding)

Spotted eagle owl (Bubo africanus), Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, encompassing the former Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, South Africa, Africa

See more photos of owls here

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