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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Subordo: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Ordo: Strigiformes

Familia: Strigidae
Subfamilia: Striginae
Genus: Strix
Species: S. albitarsis - S. aluco - S. butleri - S. chacoensis – S. davidi – S. fulvescens – S. hadorami – S. huhula – S. hylophila - S. leptogrammica – S. mauritanica – S. nebulosa – S. nigrolineata – S. nivicolum – S. occidentalis - S. ocellata - S. rufipes – S. sartorii – S. seloputo - S. uralensis - S. varia – S. virgata – S. woodfordii


Strix Linnaeus, 1758

Gender: feminine
Typus: Strix aluco Linnaeus, 1758


Ulula Cuvier, 1816
Syrnium Savigny, 1809
Ciccaba Wagler, 1832

Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Editio Decima, Reformata. Tomus I. Holmiæ (Stockholm): impensis direct. Laurentii Salvii. 824 pp. DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.542 BHL p. 92 BHL Reference page.

Additional references

Kirwan, G.M., Schweizer, M., & Copete, J.L. 2015. Multiple lines of evidence confirm that Hume's owl Strix butleri (A. O. Hume, 1878) is two species, with description of an unnamed species (Aves: Non-Passeriformes: Strigidae). Zootaxa 3904 (1): 28–50. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3904.1.2 Reference page.
Salter, J.F., Oliveros, C.H., Hosner, P.A., Manthey, J.D., Robbins, M.B., Moyle, R.G., Brumfield, R.T. & Faircloth, B.C. 2019. Extensive paraphyly in the typical owl family (Strigidae). The Auk. 137 (ukz070). DOI: 10.1093/auk/ukz070 Open access Reference page.

Vernacular names
български: Улулици
čeština: Puštík
Deutsch: Käuze
English: Wood Owls
Esperanto: Strigo
español: Cárabos
suomi: Viirupöllöt
עברית: לילית
日本語: フクロウ属
lietuvių: Pelėdos
português: Corujas
русский: Неясыти

Strix is a genus of owls in the typical owl family (Strigidae), one of the two generally accepted living families of owls, with the other being the barn-owl (Tytonidae). Common names are earless owls or wood owls, though they are not the only owls without ear tufts, and "wood owl" is also used as a more generic name for forest-dwelling owls. Neotropical birds in the genus Ciccaba are sometimes included in Strix.

These are medium-sized to large, robustly built, powerful owls. They do not have ear tufts and most are highly nocturnal woodland birds. Most prey on small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Most owls in the genus Strix can be distinguished from other genera of owls through their hooting vocalization and lack of visible ears.

The Latin genus name Strix referred to a mythical vampiric owl-monster believed to suck the blood of infants.[1] Although the genus Strix was established for the earless owls by Linnaeus in 1758, many applied the term to other owls (namely the Tyto) until the late 19th century.[2]


The genus Strix was introduced by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae.[3] The type species is the tawny owl.[4] The genus name is a Latin word meaning "owl".[5]

The genus contains 23 species:[6]

Spotted wood owl, S. seloputo
Mottled wood owl, S. ocellata
Brown wood owl, S. leptogrammica
Tawny owl, S. aluco
Maghreb owl, S. mauritanica
Himalayan owl, S. nivicolum
Desert owl, S. hadorami
Omani owl, S. butleri
Spotted owl, S. occidentalis
Barred owl, S. varia
Cinereous owl, S. sartorii
Fulvous owl, S. fulvescens
Rusty-barred owl, S. hylophila
Chaco owl, S. chacoensis
Rufous-legged owl, S. rufipes
Ural owl, S. uralensis
Père David's owl, S. davidi
Great grey owl, S. nebulosa
African wood owl, S. woodfordii
Mottled owl, Strix virgata
Black-and-white owl, Strix nigrolineata
Black-banded owl, Strix huhula
Rufous-banded owl, Strix albitarsis

Fossil species

The genus Strix is well represented in the fossil record.[2] Being a fairly generic type of strigid owl, they were probably the first truly modern Strigidae to evolve. However, whether several of the species usually placed in this genus indeed belong here is uncertain.

Generally accepted in Strix are:

S. dakota (Early Miocene of South Dakota, USA) – tentatively placed here
Strix sp. (Late Miocene of Nebraska, USA)
Strix sp. (Late Pliocene of Rębielice Królewski, Poland) apparently similar to the great grey owl[2]
Strix intermedia (Early - Middle Pleistocene of EC Europe) – may be paleosubspecies of S. aluco
Strix brea (Late Pleistocene of SW North America)
Strix sp. (Late Pleistocene of Ladds, USA)

"Strix" wintershofensis (Early/Middle Miocene of Wintershof West, Germany) and "Strix" edwardsi (Middle Miocene of Grive-Saint-Alban, France), while being strigid owls, have not at present been reliably identified to genus; they might also belong into the European Ninox-like group.[citation needed]

"Strix" ignota (Middle Miocene of Sansan, France) is sometimes erroneously considered a nomen nudum, but this assumption is based on what appears to be a lapsus or misprint in a 1912 source.[7] It may well belong into the present genus, but this requires confirmation.[2]

"Strix" perpasta (Late Miocene – Early Pliocene of Gargano Peninsula, Italy) does not appear to belong into this genus either.[8] It is sometimes considered a junior synonym of a brown fish-owl paleosubspecies.[2]

UMMP V31030, a coracoid from Late Pliocene Rexroad Formation deposits of Kansas (USA), cannot be conclusively assigned to either the present genus or Bubo.[9]

Extinct forms formerly in Strix:

"Strix" antiqua – now in Prosybris
"Strix" brea - now Oraristrix brea
"Strix" brevis – now in Intutula
"Strix" collongensis – now in Alasio
"Strix" melitensis and "Strix" sanctialbani – now in Tyto
"Strix" murivora – male of the Rodrigues owl
"Strix" newtoni and "Strix" sauzieri – male and female of the Mauritius owl


Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 368. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
Mlíkovský, Jirí (2002): Cenozoic Birds of the World, Part 1: Europe Archived 2011-05-20 at the Wayback Machine. Ninox Press, Prague. p.217
Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Vol. 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 92.
Peters, James Lee, ed. (1940). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 4. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 156.
Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 368. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (January 2021). "Owls". IOC World Bird List Version 11.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
Paris (1912: p.287) referred to Milne-Edwards (1869–1871: p.499) as the taxonomic authority, but the cited page only describes this owl but does not assign a specific name. However, the name Strix ignota is given on p.580 of Milne-Edwards's work referring unequivocally to the fossils described on page 499.
Olson, Storrs L. (1985): Section IX.C. Strigiformes. In: Farner, D. S.; King, J. R. & Parkes, Kenneth C. (eds.): Avian Biology 8: 129–132. Academic Press, New York. p.131

Feduccia, J. Alan; Ford, Norman L. (1970). "Some birds of prey from the Upper Pliocene of Kansas" (PDF). The Auk. 87 (4): 795–797. doi:10.2307/4083714. JSTOR 4083714.

Further reading
Milne-Edwards, Alphonse (1869–1871): Recherches anatomiques et paléontologiques pour servir à l'histoire des oiseaux fossiles de la France (Vol. 2). G. Masson, Paris.
Paris, P. (1912). "Oiseaux fossiles de France". Revue Française d'Ornithologie. 37: 283–298.

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