Meet Duo the Spectacled Owl, the National Aviary's New Resident


Meet Duo the Spectacled Owl, the National Aviary’s New Resident

The new Spectacled Owl made its debut at a naming ceremony
with Duolingo.

(Pittsburgh, PA) October 3, 2019 – The National Aviary’s new owl has a name, thanks to Duolingo! The National Aviary introduced a female juvenile Spectacled Owl, a species native to the rainforests of Central and South America, today during a celebration marking the occasion. Pittsburgh-based Duolingo, the world’s most popular language-learning platform, helped to reveal the owl’s name, chosen by Duolingo’s staff. The Spectacled Owl and Duolingo’s mascot, a green owl, will share a name: Duo.

“Duo the Spectacled Owl and Duo the Duolingo owl may not be the same species, but they both play an important role in promoting curiosity about the world and getting people excited to learn,” says Christa Gaus, Manager of Visitor Experiences and Training for the National Aviary. “We are excited to partner with Duolingo and to have a name for our beautiful new Spectacled Owl, who is preparing for her role as an ambassador teaching visitors and school groups about birds and rainforest habitats.”  

The announcement came during a day of celebration for the new arrival and all things owl. Visitors were greeted by a variety of owl species, including an adult Spectacled Owl, an Eastern Screech Owl, and a Eurasian Eagle-owl. A “Dress Duo” children’s craft let visitors dress up the Duolingo mascot for Halloween in chef, superhero, and scientist costumes, and learn the Spanish, French, and German words for these occupations in the process. As the new Spectacled Owl made her debut at the National Aviary, Michaela Kron, Senior Public Relations Manager for Duolingo, plucked a Duo-green leaf from a leafy autumn display and opened it to reveal the new owl’s name.  

            “As a Pittsburgh-based company with a well-known owl mascot, we felt that it made a lot of sense for Duolingo to partner with the National Aviary, a similarly mission-driven organization with a wide impact,” said Kron. “Through our partnership, we are proud to support the incredible work that the National Aviary is doing to promote conservation and inspire respect for nature through an appreciation of birds.”

Duolingo is also the sponsor of the National Aviary’s Burrowing Owls habitat, home to two adult Burrowing Owls. A small, primarily ground-dwelling owl species, Burrowing Owls nest in burrows in grasslands throughout North and South America. This fall, visitors to the National Aviary can see a variety of owl species up close, including Barred Owls in Condor Court, and meet owls, hawks, and more during Bird of Prey talks daily at 12 p.m.

Spectacled Owls derive their name from the characteristic white feathers that frame their eyes. Juvenile Spectacled Owls like Duo, who is six months old, have white feathers on the crowns of their heads. By the time she is one year old, Duo’s adult feathers will grow in, and her head will be dark brown with white accents around her eyes. Duo lives behind the scenes at the National Aviary and is an ambassador for her species.


About the National Aviary:

The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated to birds. Located in Allegheny Commons Park on Pittsburgh’s historic Northside, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary’s large walk-through habitats create an intimate, up-close interaction between visitors and free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and to meet many species rarely found in zoos anywhere else in the world. For more information, visit

The National Aviary inspires respect for nature through an appreciation of birds.

About Duolingo:

Duolingo is the most popular language-learning platform and the most downloaded education app worldwide, with more than 300 million total learners. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, the company’s mission is to make education free, fun, and accessible to all. Duolingo offers 91 total courses across over 30 distinct languages, and is available on iOS, Android, and Web at