The Duolingo Owl

What is the owl's name? Is it a boy or a girl? What specific species is said owl? Is the owl naturally green or is there some kind of mutation and/or cosmetics involved?

Also, I noticed that the owl wears a number of costumes when trying to be 'encouraging', but seems to always cry in the nude. Is this some sort of subliminal message, or just an owl-thing?

June 26, 2013


Are you really ever naked in green feathers?

June 26, 2013

My favourite appearance of Duo is when you try to scroll too far up on the mobile app.

June 26, 2013

Yes. That was super cute.

January 2, 2017


March 14, 2017

I'm fond of the owl but have always wondered why they chose a bird not particularly noted for its mimicry. I would have gone for a parrot or, more exotically, the Australian lyrebird. [David Attenborough]

June 27, 2013

In Western culture, owls have long been associated with learning and wisdom -- see e.g. and .

June 27, 2013

Yes, I should have stated in my original comment that I am aware of that symbolism. Just that I think the association is a bit too general for a tool made only for language learning. And also that wisdom is more often found in speaking less, not more.

Anyway, this was never meant to be an attack on the green owl. As I said, I'm fond of it in itself.

June 28, 2013

Perhaps it is a subtle hint that learning a language requires more than repeating phrases parrot-fashion ;-).

June 28, 2013

Not to belittle your sugestion, it was a good one. But the symbolism I enjoy most is the front page shot and subtlety on every page, the photo of the owl between two worlds bringing them together. I think the beauty of Duolingo beyond making us "mimic", is as they are making us at the very least bilingual (Duo), they are doing two (Duo) very amazing things. Teaching us a language which will make us wiser (Owl) in that it opens us up to new ways of thinking, new experiences, new information, and broadens our horizons in general, but it also makes the world wiser (Owl) by the translations it produces, making it possible for knowledge to be spread. Little by little bringing the world together, so you see the Owl is a much more apt a mascot given the mission of Duolingo.

June 29, 2013

Nicely written :)

June 29, 2013

Don't you cry in the nude?

April 25, 2019

I believe duo is part barn Owl due to the mask looking thing on its face that it shares with the barn Owl.

February 23, 2018

In Cantonese the idiom for "losing a lot" is "lose until one's pants fall off" (輸到甩褲). Maybe Duo took it literally.

August 18, 2018

As far as I know, the owl is female and she's called Duo. She may or may not be related to Space Owl ( ).

June 26, 2013

I know the owl is named Duo, but where did you get the idea of Duo being a girl?

January 2, 2017

When I wrote that post, I thought that I'd read it in some official Duolingo forum post or blog entry. Duolingo have since referred to Duo as male, so I must have been mistaken.

I still think he's related to Space Owl, though :).


January 2, 2017

"Duo" is a girl name in Turkish, and it is one of the names commonly used in the Duolingo Turkish course. If you've ever done the Turkish course, maybe that's where you got that idea! ;)

May 28, 2019

In the French skill 'Nature', level 2, lesson 1. The whole lesson is devoted to describing Duo as the kindest, prettiest, most beautiful owl. All the French verbs are using the feminine form so French Duo is definitely female.

However, whether every language has the same Duo or if there is a multiverse of Duos is yet to be seen.

April 10, 2019

In one of duo lingo's translation , it called itself 'la plus belle chouette' so either chouette is always feminine or duo is a girl.

May 4, 2019

"Une chouette" is indeed feminine in French (French here) ;)

May 28, 2019
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