10 Birds That Sound Like an Owl at Night

Owls are distinguished by their piercing nightly hoots. Several other birds, though, duplicate similar strange sounds. The Common Loon, for example, has haunting sounds in the dark. The Eastern Whip-poor-will, too, repeats its name in a beautiful yet spooky tone. In the southern regions, the Chuck-will’s-widow mimics owl-like hoots at night. Many people mistake the Barred Owl’s sounds for monkey-like hoots, leading them to believe it is another species. Furthermore, the Barn Owl makes spooky screeches that can be confused with regular owl hoots. The “peent” call of the American Woodcock contributes to the owl-like evening chorus. The Northern Saw-whet Owl’s tooting cries can also be confused with those of a larger owl. Furthermore, the nasal peent sounds of the Common Nighthawk are another owl-like mimic. Whip-poor-will, Chuck-will’s-widow, and other owls frequently create an ambient symphony that sounds like owls in the night. These bird species contribute to the fascinating symphony of nocturnal animals with their distinct calls.

Common Nighthawk

The Common Nighthawk, which is frequently misidentified as an owl at night, emits different sounds. These birds are only active at night. They have dark feathers and long wings. They swoop over the sky in the twilight. Their call sounds similar to a “peent” or “booming” sound. During their mating rituals, this noise can be heard. They are not owls, despite their owl-like cry. They are members of the Nightjar family. Nighthawks feed on insects. They catch bugs while flying. Nighthawks are excellent aerial hunters. Their distinct sound enhances the atmosphere of the evening. It’s usual for people to mistake them for owls. Their behaviors and calls, however, distinguish them differently. So, if you hear a “peent” in the middle of the night, remember that it’s the sound of a Common Nighthawk, not an owl’s hoot.

Chuck-will’s-widow Birds

The Chuck-will’s-widow, which is frequently heard at night, sounds like an owl. Its call is hauntingly similar, and many people confuse the two. This bird, found in the southern United States, tends to be active at night. Its call is a sequence of low-pitched notes that sound like “Chuck-will’s-widow.” It is not an owl, despite its owl-like vocalizations. This medium-sized bird has mottled brownish-gray plumage that helps it blend in with its environment. Chuck-will’s-widows are adept hunters who feed on insects like moths and beetles at night. They are well-known for their sneaky and effective hunting methods. In addition to their captivating calls and hunting abilities, these birds serve an important role in pest population management. While they may sound like owls, Chuck-will’s-widows are different birds with distinct traits and ecological significance in the nighttime ecology.


At night, the Whip-poor-will often sounds like an owl. Its call can be heard reverberating through the woods. Because of its hooting rhythm, people mistake it for an owl. It is, nonetheless, a different bird with its own distinct call. Unlike owls, it continually shouts “whip-poor-will” in the middle of the night. During warm evenings, this sound travels through forests and fields. Many people find it soothing, like a natural lullaby. Whip-poor-wills are nocturnal birds that sing in the dark. They’re known for their reclusive tendencies, which makes them difficult to notice. So, the next time you hear an owl-like hoot at night, consider that it could be a whip-poor-will.

Eastern Screech Owl

The Eastern Screech Owl is a tiny nocturnal owl. It is indigenous to North America. These owls are well-known for their haunting night sounds. Their feathers let them blend in with trees and woodlands. They come in two primary color variations: grey and red. Grey morphs seem like tree bark, while red morphs look like leaves. They primarily consume insects, rodents, and small birds. These owls are great hunters because of their superb vision and hearing. They build their nests in tree holes or birdhouses. Eastern Screech Owls are intriguing nighttime creatures.

American Woodcock

The American Woodcock makes strange sounds at night and is frequently misidentified as an owl. Its call, which sounds like an owl’s hoot, perplexes nocturnal onlookers. The whistles of these birds reverberate into the darkness, creating an amazing woodland symphony. Though owl-like, their notes have a certain charm that sets them apart. In the quiet of the night, listeners typically find these sounds intriguing and relaxing. The vocalizations of the Woodcock are a remarkable feature of their behavior. These cries are used during courtship rituals and to establish territory. It exemplifies nature’s diversity, with each species having its own individual voice. So, if you hear an owl-like cry in the middle of the night, it could be an American Woodcock serenading the moonlit woodland.

Barn Owl

The Barn Owl, a magnificent nocturnal bird, is a master of disguise. It’s easy to identify thanks to its heart-shaped face. At night, Barn Owls hunt mice and rats. They do so quietly because specialized feathers suppress sound. Their excellent vision aids them in spotting prey in the dark. Barn Owls can be found all over the world and adapt to a variety of habitats. They make their nests in barns, woods, and abandoned structures. These birds play a vital role in natural pest control. Conservation activities aid in the preservation of their environments. Barn Owls are intriguing species that are essential to our ecosystem.

Long-eared Owl

Long-eared Owls are nocturnal birds. It bears lengthy tufts of hair on its ears. These tufts aren’t ears at all. They aid in camouflage. Long-eared Owls are accomplished hunters. They eat small mammals as well as birds. They can be found all over the planet. In the woods and open fields. Their feathers are striped and brown. They fit in nicely. They are low-flying birds. Silently flapping through the darkness. Long-eared Owls are wonderful creatures.

Common Poorwill

The Common Poorwill is a tiny North American bird. It is well-known for its nocturnal habits, as it is most active at night. Its coloring is generally dark and grey, which helps it blend in with its surroundings. Common Poorwills eat mostly insects like moths and beetles. To preserve energy, they hibernate throughout the chilly winter months. They are named from their nighttime “poor-will” sound. These birds are rarely observed during the day. Their nests are tiny scratches in the ground that are frequently disguised under grass or pebbles. Common Poorwills perform an important role in insect population management. Conservation efforts strive to maintain their natural environments from human interference. Birdwatchers appreciate finding these unusual nocturnal birds in their natural habitat.

Common Loon

The haunting sounds of the Common Loon are similar to owl hoots at night. Its spooky, echoing tones cut through the peaceful darkness, creating an appealing, enigmatic mood. These bird calls can be heard throughout North America’s tranquil lakes and ponds, where loons live. Their melancholy screams frequently reverberate over the river, distinguishing them as a distinct component of the evening forest symphony. These loon cries serve a variety of functions, including territorial marking and communication among family members. While they may sound similar to owls, their distinct melodies bring a bit of forest romance to the moonlit nights. Keep an ear out for the Common Loon’s fascinating sounds when camping by the lake or simply spending a tranquil evening in nature – you might just feel like you’re in the company of both owls and loons.

Tawny Owl

The Tawny Owl is a small nocturnal bird with a distinctive look. Its feathers are a rich brownish-red color that blends nicely with tree bark. It has a lovely, wise appearance with huge, dark eyes and a round face. Because of their specialized feathers, Tawny Owls are masters of silence. They swoop down silently to take their prey, which is mainly small mammals or birds. They are found in European and Asian woods. They are adept parents who raise their young with care, nesting in tree hollows. Their hooting calls are a familiar sound in the countryside, despite their nighttime habits. These birds serve an important role in rodent population management, making them valuable to ecosystems. Conservation activities are critical to protecting these fascinating creatures and ensuring their presence in our woods.


While owls are recognized for their cryptic nightly calls, these birds can make similar noises, contributing to nature’s nocturnal symphony.

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