Owls

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49 records

Owls have large forward-facing eyes and ear-holes; a hawk-like beak; a flat face; and usually a conspicuous circle of feathers, a facial disc, around each eye. The feathers making up this disc can be adjusted in order to sharply focus sounds that come from varying distances onto the owl's asymmetrically placed ear cavities. Most birds of prey sport eyes on the sides of their heads, but the stereoscopic nature of the owl's forward-facing eyes permits the greater sense of depth perception necessary for low-light hunting. Although owls have binocular vision, they must turn their entire head to change views. Owls can rotate their heads and necks as much as 270 degrees in either direction. As owls are farsighted, they are unable to see clearly anything within a few centimeters of their eyes. Caught prey can be felt by owls with the use of small hair-like feathers on the beak and feet. Their far vision, particularly in low light, is exceptionally good.

The smallest owl is Elf Owl [13 cm] and the largest owls are two of the eagle owls; the Eurasian Eagle Owl and Blakiston's Fish Owl [72 cm].

Owl eggs usually have a white color and an almost spherical shape. Eggs are laid at intervals of 1 to 3 days and do not hatch at the same time. This fact accounts for the wide variation in the size of sibling nestlings. Owls do not construct nests, but rather look for a sheltered nesting site or an abandoned nest in trees, underground burrows, or in buildings, barns and caves.

Records

Ashy-faced Owl

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Balsas Screech-Owl

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Bare-legged Owl

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Bare-shanked Screech-Owl

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Barn Owl

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The barn owl is the most widely distributed species of owl, and one of the most widespread of all birds. It is also referred to as the common barn owl, to distinguish it from other species in its family. Barn owls specialise in hunting animals on the ground and nearly all of their food consists of small mammals which they locate by sound, their hearing being very acute.

The barn owl is a medium-sized, pale-coloured owl with long wings and a short, squarish tail. The pale face with its heart shape and black eyes give the flying bird a distinctive appearance, like a flat mask with oversized, oblique black eyeslits, the ridge of feathers above the bill somewhat resembling a nose.

Like most owls, the barn owl is nocturnal, relying on its acute sense of hearing when hunting in complete darkness. It often becomes active shortly before dusk and can sometimes be seen during the day when relocating from one roosting site to another.

Barred Owl

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The Barred Owl is a large typical owl. It is also known as Eight Hooter, Rain Owl, Wood Owl, and Striped Owl. But is probably known best as the Hoot Owl.

The adult is 46 cm long with a 115 cm wingspan. It has a pale face with dark rings around the eyes, a yellow beak and brown eyes. It is the only typical owl of the eastern United States which has brown eyes; all others have yellow eyes. The head is round and lacks ear tufts, a distinction from the Short-eared Owl. The upper parts are mottled gray-brown. The underparts are light with markings; the chest is barred horizontally while the belly is streaked lengthwise. The legs and feet are covered in feathers up to the talons

The diet of the Barred Owl consists mostly of mice of many species, but it also feeds on small mammals, mostly rodents, and also birds as large as grouse, doves, and even domestic ducks. It occasionally wades into water to capture fish or terrapins.

The Barred Owl hunts by waiting on a high perch at night, or flying through the woods and swooping down on prey. It generally hunts near dawn or dusk, though it may also hunt on cloudy days. It may fly even in full daylight when disturbed. Of the North American owls, it is the species most likely to be active during the day, especially when raising chicks.

Bearded Screech-Owl

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Black-and-white Owl

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Brown Fish Owl

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This species is an all-year resident throughout most tropical and subtropical parts of the Indian Subcontinent to Southeast Asia and adjoining regions. The typical habitat of brown fish owls is forest and woodland bordering streams, lakes or rice fields. This species is a large owl, but it is intermediate in size between other fish owls. It has prominent ear tufts but as in all fish owls, their tufts hang to the side of the head and have a scraggly look. The upperparts are rufous brown and heavily streaked with black or dark brown. The underparts are buffy-fulvous to whitish, with wavy dark brown streaks and finer brown barring. The throat is white and can be conspicuously puffed, while the facial disk is indistinct. The irides are golden yellow, the feet a duller yellow, and the bill is dark. Sexes do not differ in appearance except for size.

It grabs food by gliding over the water, nearly skimming it with its feet and grabbing its prey by quickly extending its long legs. It feeds mainly on fishes, frogs and aquatic crustaceans. It usually selects the larger freshwater fish available in waterways. Compared to the tawny fish owl, which prefers flowing waters, brown fish owls frequently hunt in still or stagnant waters.

Brown Wood Owl

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The Brown Wood Owl is an owl which is a resident breeder in south Asia from India and Sri Lanka. It is medium large (45-57 cm), with upperparts uniformly dark brown, with faint white spotting on the shoulders. The underparts are buff with brown streaking. The facial disc is brown or rufous, edged with white and without concentric barring, and the eyes are dark brown. There is a white neckband. The sexes are similar. It is an uncommon resident bird of dense forests. This species is very nocturnal but it can often be located by the small birds that mob it while it is roosting in a tree. It feeds mainly on small mammals birds and reptiles. It nests in a hole in a tree or on a forked trunk, laying two eggs.

Burrowing Owl

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Central American Pygmy-Owl

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Colima Pygmy-Owl

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Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl

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Crested Owl

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Cuban Pygmy-Owl

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Eastern Screech Owl

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The Eastern Screech Owl is a small owl that is relatively common in Eastern North America.

Adults are 25 cm in length and weigh 244 grams. They have either rusty or dark gray intricately patterned plumage with streaking on the underparts. Mid-sized by screech-owl standards, these birds are stocky, short-tailed and broad-winged. They have a large round head with prominent ear tufts, yellow eyes and a yellowish bill. Rusty birds are more common in the southern parts of the range; pairings of the two color variants do occur. A pale gray variation also exists in western Canada and the north-central United States. The color variations are referred to as ""red-phase"" and ""gray-phase"" by bird watchers and ornithologists.

Like most predators, Eastern Screech-Owls are opportunistic hunters. For the better part of the year, large insects are favored in their diet, with invertebrates often comprising more than half of the owls' diet. Some regularly eaten insects include beetles, moths, crickets, grasshoppers and cicadas. Small mammals, ranging in size from shrews to rabbits, are also regular prey and become the owl's primary prey during winter. Small birds ranging in size from chickadees to rock pigeons are often taken as well. Irregularly, reptiles, amphibians and fish are also preyed on. They are active at night or near dusk, using their excellent hearing and night vision to locate prey.

Elf Owl

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Eurasian Eagle-Owl

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The Eagle Owl is a very large and powerful bird, smaller than the Golden Eagle but larger than the Snowy Owl. It is sometimes referred to as the world's largest owl. The great size, bulky, barrel-shaped build, ear tufts and orange eyes make this a distinctive species. The ear tufts of males are more upright than those of females. The upperparts may brown-black to tawny-buff to pale creamy gray, typically showing as dense freckling on the forehead and crown, stripes on the nape, sides and back of the neck, and dark splotches on the pale ground colour of the back, mantle and scapulars. A narrow buff band, freckled with brown or buff, often runs up from the base of the bill, above the inner part of the eye and along the inner edge of the black-brown ear tufts. The rump and upper tail-coverts are delicately patterned with dark vermiculations and fine wavy barring. The facial disc is tawny-buff, speckled with black-brown, so densely on the outer edge of the disc as to form a "frame" around the face. The chin and throat are white continuing down the center of the upper breast.

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

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Flammulated Owl

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Fulvous Owl

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Great Gray Owl

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Great Horned Owl

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Indian Eagle-owl

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The Indian eagle-owl is a species of large horned owl found in the Indian Subcontinent. They were earlier treated as a subspecies of the Eurasian eagle-owl. They are found in hilly and rocky scrub forests, and are usually seen in pairs. They have a deep resonant booming call that may be heard at dawn and dusk. They are typically large owls, and have "tufts" on their heads. They are splashed with brown and grey, and have a white throat patch with black small stripes.

Indian Scops Owl

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The Collared Scops Owl is an owl which is a resident breeder in south Asia from northern Pakistan, northern India and the Himalayas east to south China. It is partially migratory, with some birds wintering in India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

The Collared Scops Owl is a common breeding bird in forests and other well-wooded areas. It nests in a hole in a tree, laying 3-5 eggs. It is a small owl with 25cm length, although it is the largest of the scops owls. Like other scops owls, it has small head tufts, or ears. The upper-parts are grey or brown, depending on the subspecies, with faint buff spotting. The underparts are buff with fine darker streaking.

The facial disc is whitish or buff, and the eyes are orange or brown. There is a buff neckband. Sexes are similar. The flight is deeply undulating. This species is nocturnal but it can often be located by the small birds that mob it while it is roosting in a tree. It feeds mainly on insects. The call is a quiet goog gook.

Jamaican Owl

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Jungle Owlet

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The Jungle Owlet is found in India and the dry zone of Sri Lanka. The species are usually detected by their calls at dawn and dusk. This small owlet has a rounded head and is finely barred all over. There is no clear facial disk and the wings are brownish and the tail is narrowly barred in white.

The plumage on the upper parts is dark black brown barred with white. The wing coverts have white and rufous patches. The primaries and secondaries are dark brown and barred with pale chestnut. The lower side is whitish or pale rufous barred with black. There is a whitish patch on the chin, upper breast and centre of the abdomen. The iris is yellow, the bill and tarsi are greenish with black claws.

Mottled Owl

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Mottled Wood Owl

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The Mottled Wood Owl is a large owl, which lacks ear tufts and is mottled and vermiculated in reddish brown and white. The face disc is marked with fine concentric black and white barring. The sexes are alike. The chin is white. The eyelid is orange and the iris is dark brown. The tail is barred narrowly in brown and black. The concentric barring on the face and mottled crown separate it from the brown wood owl in southern India.

These owls roost in the day, usually in pairs. When disturbed they may fly in bright sunshine although they choose to shelter within a dense grove of trees.

They feed on palm squirrels, mice and other small mammals.

Northern Boobook

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Northern Hawk Owl

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Northern Pygmy-Owl

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Northern Saw-whet Owl

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Oriental Scops-owl

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The oriental scops owl is a species of scops owl found in South Asia. They are found in dry deciduous forests. These have prominent white scapular spots, streaked underparts and upperparts, lacks prominent nuchal collar. Rufous morph distinct from Eurasian Scops-owl but others appear virtually identical, although Oriental Scops-owl is more heavily marked above & below.

Pacific Screech-Owl

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Puerto Rican Screech-Owl

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Snowy Owl

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Spectacled Owl

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Spotted Owl

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Spotted Owlet

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The Spotted Owlet is a small owl which breeds in tropical Asia from India to Southeast Asia. A common resident of open habitats including farmland and human habitation, it has adapted to living in cities. They roost in small groups in the hollows of trees or in cavities in rocks or buildings. It nests in a hole in a tree or building, laying 3-5 eggs. Nests near human habitations may show higher breeding success due to increased availability of rodents for feeding young.

The Spotted Owlet is small with overall length of 21 cm. The upperparts are grey-brown, heavily spotted with white. The underparts are white, streaked with brown. The facial disc is pale and the iris is yellow. There is a white neckband and supercilium.

Striped Owl

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Stygian Owl

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Tamaulipas Pygmy-Owl

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Tropical Screech-Owl

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Unspotted Saw-whet Owl

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Vermiculated Screech-Owl

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Western Screech-Owl

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Whiskered Screech-Owl

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