Holy Hooters!

People, get a load of this shape-shifting owl action. It’s a delightful slice of Darwinism!

Via Huffington Post’s 10 Incredible Animal Videos.



  1. Umm… WOW!

  2. For a moment I thought he had turned into a bunny, so high was the disapproval in the last act.

  3. I wish I understood Japanese. What the heck was that owl doing?

  4. berthaservant says:

    That is morphantastic than anything I have ever seen.

    Now, to watch the other 9 videos….

  5. I like how the Death March music from Star Wars plays in the background… LOL!

  6. Sahrawi Wife says:

    WOW! Really creepy look!! Too scary for me ! Looks like a nightmare owl!!
    *runs and hides under blankie*

  7. Wow, what personality these birds have! Are they trying to mimic some other animal, like a fox or something? Resident Japanese speakers, please help!

  8. Beth Ashton says:

    Wow. God creates incredible animals!

  9. On second look, he almost looks like a squirrel from far away when he’s in “compact” mode. So interesting!

  10. Fabulous!!!! Wish I could make myself instantly thin like that. Would come in especially handy after xmas…

    Does anyone know what breed of owl this is?

  11. Do these feathers make me look fat? How about if I turn sideways and really suck it in?

  12. Von Zeppelin says:

    Wow! Orson Welles to Basil Rathbone in 1.4 seconds!

  13. Dr. Mercurious says:

    Okay, that second ‘form’? I’m gonna have NIGHTMARES about it….looked really, REALLY evil.

  14. At first i thought the first one was a mating ritual or something, but now i’m confused.

  15. basically narrator is saying:

    Popo-chan makes himself big and mean when he sees a smaller, “lower-class” owl.

    Then when he faces larger, predator owl, he shrinks his feather to mimic a branch.

    (lady walks around Popo-chan with “darth vader” owl)
    And he even quickly turns himself to show only the back feather, which is darker, more wood-like colored, to the predator.

  16. I’m neither an owl expert nor a Japanese speaker, but I’m guessing that in the first one it tried to make itself look as big and scary as possible to scare the other owl (which was slightly bigger than him). In the second one, the owl was so much bigger than him that this tactic would never succeed, so he tried to camouflage as a branch or something.
    Again, not an owl expert, just my two cents of guessing 🙂 What do you guys think?

  17. @coel: Huh, cool! That’s pretty much what I guessed 🙂 Yay!

  18. From Romanesque to Gothic.

  19. In the first part it’s trying to make itself look bigger to scare off the other owl (which is about the same size).

    In the second part, it’s trying to hide from that last owl, which is much larger. Usually they’re in a tree, so pretty hard to spot in “shrunk” mode.

  20. Space Cowgirl says:

    Yikes! File this one under “Cute or Scary?”!

  21. For anyone that’s interested, I think it might be a white-faced scops owl.


  22. k the branch owl is scary o.o
    anyone notice the first owl a barn owl? was like meh… he really didnt care while the morphing owl was freaking out. I also loved the star wars music with the predator owl the japanese are so good at presentation hehe

  23. OMG, popo-chan finally made it’s way on here! This video had me laughing non-stop when I first saw this.

  24. Wow is that ever cool! I wish I could change 3 dress sizes in the blink of an eye! 😀

  25. Holy crap, I want one of these just for when it goes in to “branch” mode or whatever!! Freakin hilarious w/ the squinty eyes!!!!

  26. Kristabelle says:

    That was SO cool.

  27. Are you KIDDINGKS me? That is the coolest thing ever. More proof that the natural world holds more wonders than we can even conceive of.

    *polishes nerd glasses*

  28. Here’s a full explanation of what’s happening with this fabulous little guy for those of without Japanese language skills: http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/south-african-owl-popochan-on-japanese-tv/

  29. so…this was fer real?? not a shopped dealio?

    all i could think was

    what the hay-yull??

    if real, impressive. i wanna go to africa…

  30. I had read that the last mimic it is doing is one of a cat. Not necessarily a house cat but cats are one of the higher predators over owls and raptors. Nature never ceases to amaze me.

  31. Gail (the first one) says:

    I love when he’s morphing into Count Dracula!!!

  32. Beth (in NC) says:

    wannadance: that’s all real!!! IMNSHO, most animal behavior is cooler than anything a person could conceive of photoshopping. 🙂

  33. kibblenibble says:

    Made me think of my little parrot Scout (a blue-crowned conure) may he rest in peace. When agitated or excited, he would shape his body different ways, though perhaps not as dramatically or comically as this very cool owl. He would made himself tall and skinny when scared sometimes. Other times, when he wanted to make himself intimidating, he would puff all his feathers out so he looked twice as big, and then bob up and down, screeching “BWAA!” I miss him so much.

  34. Popo-chan is awesome!

  35. Shibata Rie is in the panel? What show is this?!

  36. That was…AWESOME! I was laughing so loud my sides were hurting when he went POOF! I said, he’s acting like a cat. Then, it was like someone just sucked the air out of him. Amazing.

  37. Anonymous Coward says:

    oh, huh, ah, very obvious & predictable question: is this for real? I mean, esp. the 2nd “shape shift”: can an own really suck in his gut, and make {him|her}self thinner?

    I know animals can be surprising, but this… is unbelievable.

    Now, on the other hand, if this was a cat… or me trying trousers in front of my girlfriend… :-\


  38. Makes me wish I had feathers I could poof out at people…

  39. Hehe popochan is cuuute.

    I feel bad for him though. They way they stress him out just so he “performs” for the audience.

  40. I was gonna say what Michelle just said. But at the same time, this is something I have never seen and it is a way to learn about this amazing animal. Hopefully they don’t do it all the time!

  41. this was not cute. it was creepy as hell!

  42. AC,

    You’ve never seen a bird out in the rain before? The majority of a bird’s body shape is just air and feathers.

  43. Ahahaha! Wow. This site never ceases to amaze me!

  44. Lol Popo-chan! <3 So cute with those ginormous eyes <3

  45. Wow! Nature at its finest.

  46. I swear this thing is part cuttlefish. How else can it change shape so drastically? Does it change colors too?

    Also, I’m sure there’s a mouth on this thing right? Right? Right?

  47. Nancy Tompkins says:

    This was really cool but actually kind of creepy, too!! Scawweee!!!

  48. totalee puppy says:

    Deborah Godin–Great comment!!! “Do these feathers make me look fat?
    How about if I turn sideways and really suck
    it in?”

  49. Eeek! Too scary for me… I shouldn’t have watched this before I go to sleep. (burrows under covers)

  50. Aesthetica says:

    (ok because no one has said it…)


    ya RLY!

    – ok, i’m done.

  51. Ok, the second ‘transformation’ spooked me. WTF? I’ve seen the ‘make yourself appear larger’ tact before…but the second one? That will haunt my nightmares. Weird and creepy!

  52. lol! omg. i understand why ppl saying they’ll have nightmares ^_^ he’s the most adorable, big-eyed baby ever and then he morphs into the angriest, most intimidating demon ever! what a cute morphing owl n_n i appreciated the darth vader music :p

  53. Ahahahahahaha, as if it wasn’t cute enough in its “regular” form! The peaks of feather on its forehead reminds me of a mini-Totoro. ^_^

  54. That is so cool! And that owl’s eyes are huuuuuuuuge.

  55. Cool indeed. I wish I had shapeshifting powers. 😉

  56. My neighbors had an owl when I was a child, and I got to hold it a couple of times. It was a large owl, but I recall being very surprised at how little it weighed on my arm. I am thinking the vast majority of what appears to be the volume of an owl is just floof and strategically placed feathers. That might explain how this little guy was able to morph into a stick. >.<

  57. I feel a bit sick…

  58. This is so cool. Evolution in action!

  59. Holy crapola!

  60. Ha spys could learn a lot form this guy.

  61. LMAO
    thes Whoooos look like my cat!

  62. I can’t help but feel guilty when I laugh at this one. That little owl is so cute and expressive, but he looks truly terrified of the bigger owl. Amazing video!

  63. W. T. F. seriously that was sooooooo cool. I think it looks so small partly because he makes sure he’s turned so his ‘skinny’ side faces the bigger bird. (watch when they walk around him).
    I hope they don’t do that TOO often. obviously he’s MADE to do it, but over and over again would be stressful.

  64. Japan and Mexico should be staunch allies. Their TV is exactly the same.

  65. arachnophile says:

    All owls have versions of these two poses. You either intimidate or disappear. Most owls in the first pose will also clack their beak loudly and hiss. If you see a Great Horned Owl do this it is quite impressive. Notice how much like bark this owls plumage is. The shrinking just helps him/her blend in if it’s in a tree. The eyes disappear. It’s so cool. It’s all so striking with this bird because of their fabulous coloring. 😀 LOVE IT!

  66. Michelle S: FLOOF! lol I thought I was the only one that said that ^_^

    Anyhow. I loveee owls, this was so cool! I can’t believe the Japanese, man. All the sound effects!
    I was laughing so hard =D
    It also doesn’t help that I have a cat who makes the “big face” all the time. Often we’ve said she looks like an owl… just like this one actually!

  67. I really like owls. My Mom used to collect statues of them so I could have owls tchachkes everywhere, but I don’t.
    My Cambodian friend is terrified of them as owls are a symbol of something sinister. I had to help her after she moved into a house with resident owls in the backyard. I hope she is coping OK with her new feathered friends. I understand why some people could see them as creepy, but I just marvel at them. Having feathers over your nose/beak-how cools is that?
    Thanks for the ornithology lesson. Happy New Year, Peeps!

  68. Big wol, little wol
    Two-for-the-price-of-one wol
    The cam’ra loves you.

  69. Oh Nature, you so awesome.

  70. Selina's Mommy says:

    there is only ONE word for this video L-O-L!!!!!!!!

  71. Everyone has said she is trying to look like a branch or tree. My first thought was a hawk or eagle which are natural predators of owls…

  72. This kindof scared me.

  73. kibblenibble says:

    Ironically, I think Mr. Morphing Owl looks much more frightening in his “skinny tree branch” guise than his “Big-Eyed Turkey-Tail” mode. As a tree branch, his squinty evil eyes put me in mind of Clint at his Dirty Harry best, while his big round eyes and bobbing dance are just, well.. darned cute.

  74. Anonymous coward:

    Yes, this is for real. He is not sucking in his tummy, it all his feathers (look at his face, he pulls those in too).

    He is related to our North American Screech Owls, who also do this branch-imitating behaviour. But, naturally, with less orange-eyed pizzazz.

    Whatever keeps ya from getting eaten!

  75. As a vet tech for many years, I worked with lots of birds, from wild owls (yes, the eyes are mesmerizing!)and red-tailed hawks(lethal-looking claws and beaks!) to pet finches. I was always amazed at how light they were, with all the floofy feathers and hollow bones. The best was someone’s pet goose named Gozzie. He stood over two & 1/2 feet tall and looked HUGE, but only weighed 11 pounds! You could sink your entire hand into his breast feathers before you touched his skin! He was a sweetie, and he liked to cuddle while delicately, quietly, ‘honk, honk’ing… Cool boiyd!

  76. Heather in PA says:

    Wow, freaky! Nature is an awesome thing, isn’t it? It astounds me every day.

  77. When I first saw the owl increase its size, I started making the “oh long John, why I eyes ya” cat noises. The owly face looked like it would say that if it could.

  78. stripey_cat says:

    European eagle owls do an odd mix of the two if they see a dog or something scary – to look big, they stretch up as tall as they can, and then spread their wings. Since they’re large birds to start with, the effect is bloody terrifying!

  79. BWAAA HAAAA HAAA! What a HOOT! I ’bout died laughing….

  80. lorisboston says:

    Thank you for the translations and explanations – I still can’t believe how he makes half his face disappear!

    But what kind of owl is the Death Star? He’s impressively HUGE!!!

  81. Monica, you nearly got me in trouble at work for snorting out loud at the “why I eyes ya,” because I could imagine that PERFECTLY at that moment. That owl definitely has anime eyes.

  82. WTF?????

    that was scawey!

  83. That was extremely incredible. It looked like the owl was trying to turn into a hawk or another bird of prey.

    The survival tactics of animals are so amazing. There is also another animal call the Mimic Octopus that mimics several different species of aquatic animals. From flounders to crabs. Check it out sometime.

  84. @derz owls are birds of prey.

    But yes, that is a heck of a little owl! I am duly impressed! ^^

  85. A friend showed me this video over the summer and now I cry every time I watch it because I laugh so hard!