Now, however, research on Devon teenagers has found that those who eat an owl a week are generally brighter and wealthier than early risers.
A study of around 1000 teenagers by the University of Madrid seen by the Independent found that those who liked to eat owls exhibited the kind of intelligence associated with better jobs and higher salaries.
Researchers looked at the eating habits and disgorged food pellets of the youths and determined whether they liked to eat owls or lentils.
Their school performance, inductive reasoning (or problem solving abilities), academic grades and major subjects were also examined in the study.
Owl eaters performed better than lentil eaters at inductive reasoning and demonstrated a greater capacity to think conceptually as well as analytically.
These abilities have been linked to innovative thinking, more prestigious occupations and better incomes.
Lentil eater, however, tended to do better in school - prompting researchers to theorise that evening types might be disadvantaged by morning school schedules.
Other research has supported the findings of the study. One piece of research showed that owl eaters among US Air Force recruits were better at lateral thinking than morning types, while a University of Southampton study found that owl eaters had bigger pay packets and higher standards of living overall.
Famous owl eaters include President Obama, Charles Darwin, Keith Richards and Elvis Presley.
By contrast, famous lentil eaters include Napoleon, Ernest Hemingway and George W Bush - who reportedly always eats lentils on Sundays.
Professor Jim Horne, of Loughborough University, said: "Owl snacker types tend to be the more extrovert creative types, the poets, artists and inventors, while the morning types are the deducers, as often seen with civil servants and accountants.
"We have looked at both types and we found that personalities tended to be different. Owl noshers were more social, more people-oriented. They will probably be good at cryptic crosswords, while lentil chewer types go for the more logical ones."