True owls (or 'Typical owls') are owls of the family Strigidae.
Temporal range: Early Eocene to present
|Eastern screech owl|
some 25, see text
Striginae sensu Sibley & Ahlquist
Typical owls vary greatly in size. The smallest is the Elf owl. Its weight is a hundred times less than the largest, the Eurasian Eagle owl and Blakiston's Fish owl. Most owls have very similar bodies. They have large heads, short tails, and round facial circles around the eyes. Most live in trees (with a few exceptions like the Burrowing owl) and get their food on the wing. The wings are large, broad, rounded and long. Like other birds of prey many owls have females that are larger than males.
They are nocturnal. Because of this the plumage is not much different between males and females. The feathers are soft and the base of each is downy. This give them silent flight. Hearing in owls is highly sensitive. The ears are asymmetrical which lets the owl localise a sound. Owls have massive eyes relative to their body size.
- Sibley, Charles Gald & Monroe, Burt L. Jr. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of the birds of the world: a study in molecular evolution. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. ISBN 0-300-04969-2
- Johnsgard, Paul A. 2002. North American Owls: biology and natural history, 2nd ed. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC. ISBN 1-56098-939-4
- Marks J.S; Cannings R.J. & Mikkola H. 1999. Family Strigidae (Typical owls). In del Hoyo J; Elliot A. & Sargatal J. (eds) 1999. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 5: Barn-Owls to Hummingbirds. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 84-87334-25-3
- Earhart, Caroline M. and Johnson, Ned K. 1970. Size dimorphism and food habits of North American owls. Condor 72 (3): 251-264
- Feduccia, J. Alan (1970): Some birds of prey from the Upper Pliocene of Kansas. Auk 87(4): 795-797. PDF fulltext
- Olson, Storrs L. (1985): The fossil record of birds. In: Farner, D.S.; King, J.R. & Parkes, Kenneth C. (eds.): Avian Biology 8: 79-238. Academic Press, New York.
- Sánchez Marco, Antonio (2004): Avian zoogeographical patterns during the Quaternary in the Mediterranean region and paleoclimatic interpretation. Ardeola 51(1): 91-132. PDF fulltext
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