Strigidae – Owls

Pacific Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium peruanum ©Ian Montgomery Website

Owls, my favourite birds
by Friedhelm Weick

Owls are outstanding birds! Is it their silent hunting in the poor evening light and at night, their distinctive appearance – huge head and forward looking eyes or maybe the echoes of ancient myths and tales of woodland goblins and bewitched owl-shaped princesses? However, since my childhood owls were my favourite birds. They even outranked my ambition for the diurnal birds of prey. As a wildlife artist, birder and ornithologists – I never lost my contact to these feather-armoured knights of the twilight. When in 1980 my book Birds of Prey of the World (Parey, Berlin) was printed, I had the idea for a similar project on the strigiformes of the world. So I began to collect every bit of information about this subject – and, remember: the Internet wasn’t in reach for the common wildlife artist then.

I filed scientific articles, photos and colour-copies of books, sketches and other descriptions back to 1758, photos from living owls in the wildlife or captivity. Detailed lists of measures and colours of skins, weights and feathers grew larger and larger. Beside that I visited zoological gardens, ornithological institutes and a lot of private owl-keepers, birders and ornithologists. In the early nineties I wrote three different annotated checklists about Strigiformes. The first included all recent complete taxa and their distribution. A second listed all-important measurements and weights linked to an index of photos and paintings. The third list was a full description of plumages and soft parts combined with a detailed bibliography.

In this situation Claus König head of the Natural Science Museum at Stuttgart and ambitioned ornithologist asked me if I would be interested in a project which should result in nothing minor than the standard guide to all owls of the world. The publisher would be Pica Press, Sussex. Of course I was, wasn’t I?

The three checklists were the basic-stock for our further work. In the following years I examined some thousands of skins and mounted owls in all-important museums of the world, only supported by my dear wife Christel. Within nearly three years I painted all different taxa and morphes that were sometimes known only by one skin…

In 1999 the book was published… leaving me more time for birding and outdoor projects and, last but not least for new paintings of my favourite birds, guess which?

Friedhelm Weick
Information © May 2002

According to the IOC there are 218 extant species of typical owls. They are:

Giant Scops Owl Otus gurneyi
White-fronted Scops Owl Otus sagittatus
Reddish Scops Owl Otus rufescens
Serendib Scops Owl Otus thilohoffmanni
Sandy Scops Owl Otus icterorhynchus
Sokoke Scops Owl Otus ireneae
Andaman Scops Owl Otus balli
Flores Scops Owl Otus alfredi
Mountain Scops Owl Otus spilocephalus
Rajah Scops Owl Otus brookii
Javan Scops Owl Otus angelinae
Mentawai Scops Owl Otus mentawi
Indian Scops Owl Otus bakkamoena
Collared Scops Owl Otus lettia
Japanese Scops Owl Otus semitorques
Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji
Palawan Scops Owl Otus fuliginosus
Philippine Scops Owl Otus megalotis
Everett’s Scops Owl Otus everetti
Negros Scops Owl Otus nigrorum
Wallace’s Scops Owl Otus silvicola
Mindanao Scops Owl Otus mirus
Luzon Scops Owl Otus longicornis
Mindoro Scops Owl Otus mindorensis
Pallid Scops Owl Otus brucei
African Scops Owl Otus senegalensis
Arabian Scops Owl Otus pamelae
Eurasian Scops Owl Otus scops
Cyprus Scops Owl Otus cyprius
Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia
Socotra Scops Owl Otus socotranus
Moluccan Scops Owl Otus magicus
Rinjani Scops Owl Otus jolandae
Sula Scops Owl Otus sulaensis
Siau Scops Owl Otus siaoensis
Mantanani Scops Owl Otus mantananensis
Ryukyu Scops Owl Otus elegans
Sulawesi Scops Owl Otus manadensis
Sangihe Scops Owl Otus collari
Biak Scops Owl Otus beccarii
Seychelles Scops Owl Otus insularis
Simeulue Scops Owl Otus umbra
Enggano Scops Owl Otus enganensis
Nicobar Scops Owl Otus alius
Pemba Scops Owl Otus pembaensis
Karthala Scops Owl Otus pauliani
Anjouan Scops Owl Otus capnodes
Moheli Scops Owl Otus moheliensis
Mayotte Scops Owl Otus mayottensis
Torotoroka Scops Owl Otus madagascariensis
Rainforest Scops Owl Otus rutilus
Sao Tome Scops Owl Otus hartlaubi

Flammulated Owl Psiloscops flammeolus

Eastern Screech Owl Megascops asio
Western Screech Owl Megascops kennicottii
Balsas Screech Owl Megascops seductus
Pacific Screech Owl Megascops cooperi
Whiskered Screech Owl Megascops trichopsis
Tropical Screech Owl Megascops choliba
West Peruvian Screech Owl Megascops roboratus
Koepcke’s Screech Owl Megascops koepckeae
Bare-shanked Screech Owl Megascops clarkii
Bearded Screech Owl Megascops barbarus
Rufescent Screech Owl Megascops ingens
Colombian Screech Owl Megascops colombianus
Cinnamon Screech Owl Megascops petersoni
Cloud-forest Screech Owl Megascops marshalli
Tawny-bellied Screech Owl Megascops watsonii
Middle American Screech Owl Megascops guatemalae
Vermiculated Screech Owl Megascops vermiculatus
Roraiman Screech Owl Megascops roraimae
Napo Screech Owl Megascops napensis
Choco Screech Owl Megascops centralis
Yungas Screech Owl Megascops hoyi
Black-capped Screech Owl Megascops atricapilla
Long-tufted Screech Owl Megascops sanctaecatarinae
Puerto Rican Screech Owl Megascops nudipes
White-throated Screech Owl Megascops albogularis

Palau Owl Pyrroglaux podargina

Bare-legged Owl Margarobyas lawrencii

Northern White-faced Owl Ptilopsis leucotis
Southern White-faced Owl Ptilopsis granti

Snowy Owl Bubo scandiacus
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
Lesser Horned Owl Bubo magellanicus
Eurasian Eagle-Owl Bubo bubo
Indian Eagle-Owl Bubo bengalensis
Pharaoh Eagle-Owl Bubo ascalaphus
Cape Eagle-Owl Bubo capensis
Spotted Eagle-Owl Bubo africanus
Greyish Eagle-Owl Bubo cinerascens
Fraser’s Eagle-Owl Bubo poensis
Usambara Eagle-Owl Bubo vosseleri
Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl Bubo nipalensis
Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus
Shelley’s Eagle-Owl Bubo shelleyi
Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl Bubo lacteus
Dusky Eagle-Owl Bubo coromandus
Akun Eagle-Owl Bubo leucostictus
Philippine Eagle-Owl Bubo philippensis
Blakiston’s Fish Owl Bubo blakistoni

Brown Fish Owl Ketupa zeylonensis
Tawny Fish Owl Ketupa flavipes
Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu

Pel’s Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli
Rufous Fishing Owl Scotopelia ussheri
Vermiculated Fishing Owl Scotopelia bouvieri

Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo
Mottled Wood Owl Strix ocellata
Brown Wood Owl Strix leptogrammica
Tawny Owl Strix aluco
Himalayan Owl Strix nivicolum
Omani Owl Strix butleri
Desert Owl Strix hadorami
Spotted Owl Strix occidentalis
Barred Owl Strix varia
Cinereous Owl Strix sartorii
Fulvous Owl Strix fulvescens
Rusty-barred Owl Strix hylophila
Chaco Owl Strix chacoensis
Rufous-legged Owl Strix rufipes
Ural Owl Strix uralensis
Pere David’s Owl Strix davidi
Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa
African Wood Owl Strix woodfordii
Mottled Owl Strix virgata
Rufous-banded Owl Strix albitarsis
Black-and-white Owl Strix nigrolineata
Black-banded Owl Strix huhula

Maned Owl Jubula lettii

Crested Owl Lophostrix cristata

Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata
Tawny-browed Owl Pulsatrix koeniswaldiana
Band-bellied Owl Pulsatrix melanota

Northern Hawk-Owl Surnia ulula

Eurasian Pygmy Owl Glaucidium passerinum
Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei
Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum
Northern Pygmy Owl Glaucidium californicum
Mountain Pygmy Owl Glaucidium gnoma
Baja Pygmy Owl Glaucidium hoskinsii
Guatemalan Pygmy Owl Glaucidium cobanense
Costa Rican Pygmy Owl Glaucidium costaricanum
Andean Pygmy Owl Glaucidium jardinii
Cloud-forest Pygmy Owl Glaucidium nubicola
Yungas Pygmy Owl Glaucidium bolivianum
Colima Pygmy Owl Glaucidium palmarum
Tamaulipas Pygmy Owl Glaucidium sanchezi
Pernambuco Pygmy Owl Glaucidium mooreorum
Central American Pygmy Owl Glaucidium griseiceps
Subtropical Pygmy Owl Glaucidium parkeri
Amazonian Pygmy Owl Glaucidium hardyi
East Brazilian Pygmy Owl Glaucidium minutissimum
Ferruginous Pygmy Owl Glaucidium brasilianum
Pacific Pygmy Owl Glaucidium peruanum
Austral Pygmy Owl Glaucidium nana
Cuban Pygmy Owl Glaucidium siju
Red-chested Owlet Glaucidium tephronotum
Sjöstedt’s Barred Owlet Glaucidium sjostedti
Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides
Javan Owlet Glaucidium castanopterum
Jungle Owlet Glaucidium radiatum
Chestnut-backed Owlet Glaucidium castanotum
African Barred Owlet Glaucidium capense
Albertine Owlet Glaucidium albertinum

Long-whiskered Owlet Xenoglaux loweryi

Elf Owl Micrathene whitneyi

Little Owl Athene noctua
Spotted Owlet Athene brama
Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia

Forest Owlet Heteroglaux blewitti

Boreal Owl Aegolius funereus
Northern Saw-whet Owl Aegolius acadicus
Unspotted Saw-whet Owl Aegolius ridgwayi
Buff-fronted Owl Aegolius harrisii

Rufous Owl Ninox rufa
Togian Boobook Ninox burhani
Powerful Owl Ninox strenua
Barking Owl Ninox connivens
Sumba Boobook Ninox rudolfi
Southern Boobook Ninox boobook
Morepork Ninox novaeseelandiae
Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata
Northern Boobook Ninox japonica
Chocolate Boobook Ninox randi
Hume’s Hawk-Owl Ninox obscura
Andaman Hawk-Owl Ninox affinis
White-browed Hawk-Owl Ninox superciliaris
Luzon Hawk-Owl Ninox philippensis
Mindanao Hawk-Owl Ninox spilocephala
Mindoro Hawk-Owl Ninox mindorensis
Romblon Hawk-Owl Ninox spilonotus
Cebu Hawk-Owl Ninox rumseyi
Camiguin Hawk-Owl Ninox leventisi
Sulu Hawk-Owl Ninox reyi
Ochre-bellied Boobook Ninox ochracea
Cinnabar Boobook Ninox ios
Hantu Boobook Ninox squamipila
Halmahera Boobook Ninox hypogramma
Tanimbar Boobook Ninox forbesi
Christmas Boobook Ninox natalis
Papuan Boobook Ninox theomacha
Manus Boobook Ninox meeki
Speckled Boobook Ninox punctulata
New Ireland Boobook Ninox variegata
New Britain Boobook Ninox odiosa
Solomons Boobook Ninox jacquinoti
Little Sumba Hawk-Owl Ninox sumbaensis

Papuan Hawk-Owl Uroglaux dimorpha

Jamaican Owl Pseudoscops grammicus
Striped Owl Pseudoscops clamator

Fearful Owl Nesasio solomonensis

Stygian Owl Asio stygius
Long-eared Owl Asio otus
Abyssinian Owl Asio abyssinicus
Madagascan Owl Asio madagascariensis
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
Marsh Owl Asio capensis

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 218

Useful Reading
  • DVD - British Birds of Prey

    Narrated & Filmed by Paul Doherty 90 minutes 28 species covered ?17.95 Bird Images DVD Guides, 28 Carousel Walk, Sherburn in Elmet, N Yorks LS25 6LP, United Kingdom
    See Fatbirder Review ISBN: Buy this book from
  • Owls

    A Guide to the Owls of the World by Claus Konig, Friedhelm Weick and Jan-Hendrik Becking - Pica Press 1999 ISBN: 1873403747 Buy this book from
  • Owls of the World: A Photographic Guide

    By Heimo Mikkola | 512 pages | Colour Photos | Colour Distribution Maps | Christopher Helm | Hardback | Aug 2012
    See Fatbirder Review ISBN: 9781408130285 Buy this book from
  • Hawk & Owl Trust

    Welcome to The Hawk and Owl Trust Website. Owls, hawks, eagles, falcons - magnificent birds like these symbolise freedom and wild places. The Hawk and Owl Trust is dedicated to ensuring that birds of prey survive in the wild for future generations to enjoy. Founded in 1969 because of concerns about the alarming decline in numbers of peregrines and other raptors, today we work to conserve all wild birds of prey and their habitats in the face of mounting human pressures
  • International Owl Society

    The intention being that this should provide a world-wide forum for all those interested in owls. Set out below are the objectives and intentions of this organisation and everybody with an interest in this Family are cordially invited to apply for membership. Most certainly the International Owl Society cannot succeed without an energetic and committed membership and the Council looks forward to receiving your active support. Any suggestions as to how the objectives and intentions may be expanded or amended to better reflect the interests of the Members are most welcome and will be carefully considered
  • World Owl Trust

    We are the only organisation that works solely on owl conservation on a global scale, and we have members in many countries around the world. Our conservation programmes are a last ditch attempt to protect populations of endangered owls until we have succeeded in restoring their habitat. This is the purpose of our Owl Centre. If we succeed in breeding from the birds we hold we can reintroduce them back into to the wild. This has already been achieved for the European Eagle Owl and British Barn Owl.
Other Links
  • Aves de Rapina Brasil

    Welcome to the biggest Brazilian website dedicated to raptors. The webmaster, Willian MenQ, is a graduate student in Biological Sciences. He works in conservation and ornithology in the region the northwest of the Paraná, studying raptors…
  • CD - All Europe's Owls

    Text in Swedish and English. 77 voices of all 13 European owl species, between 2 and 9 different voices per species. Not only territorials calls of males but even contacting calls, voices of females and owlets. CD, about 68 min…
  • Christmas Island Hawk-Owl Ninox natalis National Recovery Plan

    National recovery plan for the Christmas Island Hawk-Owl…
  • Information on Owls

    The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service (at NCSU) Extension Forestry Group has developed a series of information sheets entitled Working With Wildlifecluding one on Owls with descriptions of several owl species and tips for owl management (no photos, though).
  • Little Owl Athene noctua Group

    The little owl (Athene noctua) is a bird that inhabits much of the temperate and warmer parts of Europe, Asia east to Korea, and north Africa. It is not native to Great Britain and was first introduced in 1842 by Thomas Powys and is now naturalised there. It was also successfully introduced to the South Island of New Zealand in the early 20th century...
  • Long-eared Owl Asio otus

    The long-eared owl is medium-sized owl, smaller in size than a woodpigeon. It often looks long and thin, with head feathers (known as ear tufts even though they are not ears) which it raises when alarmed. It is buff-brown with darker brown streaks, and deep orange eyes. It breeds thinly across the UK with fewer birds in the south-west and Wales. Northern birds migrate southwards, including birds from Europe coming to spend the winter in the UK, while southern birds are residents and only move short distances to find food...

    If you are wondering what owl is hooting out your window, are a student, hobbyist, or just enjoy the owls and nature… you are in the right place. is a look at the North American Owls with both biology and multimedia sections to help with the identification, enjoyment, and appreciation of these awesome winged predators.
  • The Owl Pages

    Owls have fascinated man from time immemorial - to some cultures they are symbols of wisdom, while to others they are harbingers of doom and death. Here, the Owl Pages sheds some light on these mysterious creatures…
Photographers & Artists
  • Barred Owl Video

    A Cornell Lab of Ornithology video…
  • Barred Owls Strix varia Webcam

    The owl cam homepage; You are cordially invited to share in the adventures of a pair of Northern Barred Owls (Strix varia varia) as they raise their family in a nest box in Eastern Massachusetts
  • Boreal Owl Video

    A Cornell Lab of Ornithology Video…
  • Snowy Owl Video

    Elliott Kennerson; a natural-history filmmaking student in Montana, has made a short film (12 mins) about snowy owls that is free to view online for anybody. Denver Holt, one of Montana’s foremost owl researchers, appears in the film…

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