Do Birds Have Ears?

Yes, birds have ears but without an external structure. That means we can’t see them because their ears are hidden between their feathers. People sometimes confuse the feather tufts some birds, like the great horned owl, have, for ears. However, feather tufts are not ears, and their purpose is probably to help blend into their environment or to make the owl look bigger for other predators.

Birds have funnel-shaped ears located slightly below and behind their eyes. They’re covered with soft feathers (so-called auriculars) to serve as protection.

You can spot the ears of birds on newborn chicks who don’t have a full plumage yet.

How good are bird ears?

Birds can hear different pitches, tones, and rhythms, which allows them to identify other individual birds in a flock. And they can listen to other birds and tell the difference between a bird singing for a territorial claim, to warn of predators, or to offer a new food source to their flock. It’s supposed that most birds have a human-like hearing. But this varies from species to species, depending on the environment they have to survive in.

Owls Have Asymmetrical Ears

For instance, Owls have excellent hearing, which helps them hear and hunt prey at night. While most birds have ears that are in the same position on both sides of their heads. Owls, however, have asymmetrically placed ears, which means that one ear is not in the same place as it is on the other side of their head, and therefore, both ears do not perceive a sound at the same time. 

But how does that help owls to find out where the noise of potential prey comes from?

 When they hear an animal, they can turn their head until both ears perceive the sound simultaneously and determine precisely where the sound came from.

Pigeons can hear infrasound

Pigeons have impressive ears and are known to hear infrasound, which allows them to detect storms and earthquakes from a distance long before humans do. Not bad for a bird who gets called a flying rat, huh?

Birds Wall Art From Our Shop

Long story short: Yes, birds do have ears!