Meet The Duolingo Owl: How It Became So Popular?

In the previous decade, one thing that was my constant partner was Duolingo and its owl. Whether I wanted to learn a popular language like Spanish or a fictional language like High Valyrian, I have always chosen Duolingo. But what excites me is the popularity of Duolingo Owl. I mean how people admire the owl is commendable. The story of the owl started in 2021 and there have been so many changes in its appearance. I really wanted to know the story of the owl and I am sure you also want to know it. So be with me till the end and I will show you what made this owl so popular. 

Quick Takeaways

  • Duolingo owl is the owl that brings good luck to Duolingo. As in many cultures, an owl depicts the symbol of knowledge, it was used to represent Duolingo.
  • The name of this Duolingo owl is Duo and is green in colour.
  • You will see duo many times to encourage and motivate you for completing your lessons.
  • In 2017, the team launched different duo memes that increased the attention of the users and they started getting popular. 

What is the Duolingo Owl?

Do you believe in good luck? There is always something that you believe is good luck for you. Duolingo Owl is good luck for the platform. It is basically the Duolingo icon which you can see when you install Duolingo. The owl is a male character and is green in color. It is similar to spectacled owl species in the real world. It is like a brand ambassador and generally encourages you to complete your lessons. However, taking up the Duolingo subscription plan will change the owl to a little Bluish color.

What is the name of Duolingo Owl?

The name of the Duolingo owl is Duo and is green in color. However many people are not aware of this name and mostly you will hear it as Duolingo owl or feathered green guy. If we consider French, the meaning of ‘Duo’ is an owl who does not have ear tufts.

How did Duolingo Owl become so popular?

It’s not a hidden fact that Duolingo has more than 500 million users and is a hub of different languages. But with time it has become popular for Duolingo owl. The duo became an important part of daily learning. One thing that I love about Duo is that it keeps pushing me to complete the lessons. But with time they have started creating memes with Duo which become more popular. Just like funny statements in Duolingo lessons, you will see reminders in which the duo was hilariously motivating the people to complete the lessons.

Below are the two main types of memes that have become popular in the past decade-

  • In some of the memes, the duo was also seen threatening the users who were not completing their lessons on time.
  • These memes were named evil Duolingo Owl. In some of the memes, the duo was shown stalking the users who were not completing their lessons and was known as the duo push meme in 2019. 

Further in 2020, Duolingo got into a partnership with Angry Birds. After that, Duolingo also included Red Bird in their memes and videos. One such video was where Duo arrived with the red bird when the user had not completed their French lessons. Further, when they started posting videos on TikTok, the page only had 50k followers. After, when the team started sharing videos, it started going viral on the platform.

Some of the memes are added below:

Why Duolingo has chosen an owl?

The most important reason why it is an owl is that it represents knowledge in some cultures. As Duolingo is an educational platform, it makes all sense to choose the owl. In addition to it, there are some cultures that represent owls as a symbol of good luck. On the contrary, in some cultures, it may represent the symbol of death. Thus many believe that it should not be an owl. However, remember that the team is using an owl to represent good luck and knowledge. 

Why is the Duolingo owl green in color?

Many believe that Duo represents a particular type of owl in the real world. But actually, it is not. There is no particular reason behind it. However, according to me the following could be possible reasons to choose the green color-

  • It depicts growth and learning.
  • The green color goes with their branding.
  • It symbolizes the free choice of the language.
  • The baby owls are usually green in color before maturing. As this platform is for beginners, it makes sense to choose the green color.

How does the duo evolve with time?

Duolingo was established in 2011 and since then the duo has been a big part of the journey. There have been a lot of changes in the Duo from that time. Let us discuss how it evolved with time-

2011 (Original Duolingo Owl)

As it was the first owl on Duolingo, it is also known as OG Duolingo. It had a simple organic 2 dimension shape with the feathers on the chest. If we talk about the face, there is only a name written in a manner that the D and O alphabets represent its eyes and U is its beak of the owl.

1. 2012

The OG duo was soon changed in 2012. In 2012 it got its 3D shape. Some of its features are still present in the current structure of Duo. However, the eyes and the wings were like feathers. The beak of the owl was like a tortilla chip which is joined together.

2. 2014 

It was the same for consecutive 4 years. The duo of 2014 is much cuter, warmer, and cuddlier than the previous versions of it. Despite having a similar structure to 2012, the beak has become smoother, and the eyes and the wings are no more in feather shape. You will also notice that the feet are not attached to the body.

3. 2018

The current duo you see was first created in 2018. It has big owl eyes. The wings are shown as a half-circle hidden behind the body. Again the feet are not attached to the body like in the previous version. You can also see feather-like structures on the chest. 


When you open Duolingo you see an owl prompting on the screen. This owl represents Duolingo and helps to bring good luck to the platform. You will see it prompting on your screen multiple times to encourage you to complete the lessons. The name of this owl is a duo and is green in color. It is just like the spectacled owl species in the real world. In 2017, the platform started creating meme videos which helped to gain popularity. There were funny videos of the duo threatening the users who did not complete their lessons. Further, when they started posting videos on their TikTok account, it started going viral and Duo became very popular.


Who designed the Duolingo owl?

Duolingo Owl was designed by Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker in 2011.

Is the duo a girl or a boy?

According to the official statement by the team Duolingo, the Duolingo owl is a boy. However, some sources consider it androgynous.

Why is Duolingo TikTok so popular?

The success of anything getting popular is based on the understanding of the things that are attracting customers. The team of Duolingo also tried to understand what customers wanted and started creating content based on it on TikTok. 

why is Duolingo scary?

In some of the memes, the duo was seen threatening the users who were not completing their lessons on time due to which Duolingo sometimes may look scary.

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