Otus

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Otus
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Aves
Sub-class Neornithes
Infra-class Neoaves
Order Information
Order Strigiformes
Family Information
Family Strigidae
Sub-family Striginae
Genus Information
Genus Otus
Population statistics

Otus refers to a genus of owls of the family Strigidae, containing about 50 species and colloquially referred to as scops owls.

Description

Owls of this genus are small to medium-sized birds, with a maximum body length of 11 inches. The smallest species weigh around 1.76 ounces, the heaviest over 10.5 ounces.

They are inconspicuous, mostly bark-colored gray-brown or brown above, with many species also bearing a darkly-colored abdomen. Some species show different color morphs, usually reddish-brown or gray-brown. Ear tufts, which are present in all species, are widely separated on the head, yet still give the birds a horned appearance. All have a facial disk, the edge of which is usually clear. In some, but not all, species, the legs are feathered to the toes.

Scops owls are night-time hunters, primarily catching and consuming insects. Vertebrates such as mice, shrews, birds, reptiles and amphibians are also caught, but usually by the larger species.

Scops owls are common in Africa, with the exception of the deserts and the rainforest belt; in southern Europe as well as in central, southern and southeastern Asia. The genus is absent in Central and Northern Europe and largely in the boreal zone of Asia. They are absent from the Americas and Australia.

Species

References