Asio flammeus galapagoensis | ©Sebastián Padrón   (Galapagos islands)

Asio flammeus galapagoensis, commonly known as the Galapagos Short-eared Owl and Short-eared Owl, is one of the ten recognized subspecies of Short-eared owl, which vary in terms of location and coloration. Perhaps the most distinctive of these subspecies is Asio flammeus galapagoensis, which has extremely dark plumage and larger black regions around the eyes [source].

As its common name suggests, the Galapagos Short-eared Owl is only found in the Galapagos islands.

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Ornimegalonyx, a giant terrestrial owl from the Late Pleistocene of Cuba (~10,000 BCE). Standing 1.1m tall (3′7″) and weighing around 9kg (20lbs), it had long legs and was probably a very strong runner – but it was also nearly flightless.

Long-legged ground-owls evolved convergently multiple times over the last few million years, with fossils known of “stilt-owls” in the Hawaiian Islands, fragments from the US state of Georgia that might represent a close relative of Ornimegalonyx, and a flightless barn owl in the Bahamas that survived up until the 1500s. The only still-extant example with similar anatomical adaptations is the small burrowing owl.

Ornimegalonyx was also recently the subject of an online hoax, claiming that one had been successfully cloned – except the photographs associated with the story were actually pictures of a potoo.

Spotted Wood Owl - Strix seloputo

The Spotted Wood Owl, Strix seloputo (Strigidae) is a richly colored medium-sized owl (up to 40 cm in length) with a large rounded head, orange-buff facial disc, no ear-tufts and dark eyes. 

This species occurs in Southern Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Southern Vietnam and Malay Peninsula, Central Sumatra, discontinuously to Java, Bawean Island off Northern Java, Calamian Islands and Palawan, Western Philippines.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Sheau Torng Lim | Locality: Pasir Ris Park, Lor Halus, Singapore (2014)

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Spectacled Owl - Pulsatrix perspicillata

The Spectacled Owl, Pulsatrix perspicillata (Strigiformes - Strigidae), is a medium-sized to large owl with a rounded head with no ear-tufts. It has a dark face with contrasting ‘spectacles’ made up of white eyebrows and other white streaking between the eyes and on the cheeks.

Spectacled owls are unsociable birds, generally uncommon, but locally common in areas such as Costa Rica, Colombia and the Amazon. The species occurs from Southern Mexico through Argentina.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Jorge Chinchilla A. | Locality: Sarapiquí, Heredia, Costa Rica (2014)

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These fluffy owls are known as the Elf Owls (Micrathene whitneyi) and are the world’s lightest owls. Typically, these raptors are native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. They, on average, can weigh approximately 40 grams (1.4 oz) and have fairly long legs to give them added height.. Just kidding, their legs are for hunting insects and scorpions! Males and females will play with each other after dusk and sunset, by jumping from tree to tree letting their famous high-pitched whinnies fill the night air. 

Photo credit: Ed Schneider