Strigidae (owls; class Aves, order Strigiformes)
A family of small to large owls that have brown, grey, and black, cryptically marked plumage. They have facial discs, and many have ‘ear’ tufts (e.g. the six species of Asio
, 12 species of Bubo
(eagle owls), and 35 species of Otus
(scops owls and screech owls), many of which have unfeathered legs; the 11 species of Strix
, which have barred, spotted, or streaked under-parts, are not ‘eared’). Their claws are not pectinate
. They inhabit forest, grassland, and desert, feed on fish, mammals, birds, and insects, and nest on ledges, in tree cavities, abandoned nests, or in burrows. Some pygmy owls and owlets (13–15 species of Glaucidium
) are barely larger than a sparrow; they are partly diurnal and feed partly on birds and insects, some of which are caught on the wing. There are 22 genera in the family, with 122 species, some migratory, found world-wide.