Raptors have ears placed on either side of their head. Brushing the feathers of the head towards the beak there will be seen and felt a natural part in the feathers. The feathers that make this part are the auricular feathers. Here there is a "hole" which is the entry to the ear. Technically, this is called the external auditory meatus - it is a canal into the middle ear with very little external structure marking or protecting it. Because of this appearance, these have been known to be mistaken for injuries by an untrained eye, and have even been sutured by veterinarians unfamiliar with birds.
Ear placement is asymmetrical meaning that the ear on one side of the head is slightly higher than the ear on the other side. The ear tufts seen on some species are unrelated to the ears or to hearing.

           Ear image Ear of a Red-Tailed Hawk. (cadaver)

           Ear image Ear of a Red-Tailed Hawk.

           Ear image Ear of a Gyrfalcon. (cadaver)

           Ear image Ear of a Cooper's Hawk. (cadaver)

           Ear slit image Ear of a Barn Owl. (cadaver)

           Ear image Ear of a Great Horned Owl. (cadaver)

           Ear image Great Horned Owl with a marker placed into the ear to show where the ear is when the head is viewed with feather in normal positions. (cadaver)
           Ear image Great Horned Owl with feathers flipped away to show the ear opening. (cadaver)

All images and text Copyright © 2004 - 2020 - Lydia Ash