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Little Owl

Little Owl
Scientific classification
Species: noctua
Binomial name
Athene noctua

The Little Owl Athene noctua is a species of owl resident in much of temperate Europe. It is not native to Great Britain, but was introduced in the 19th century, and is now naturalised.

This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae. The Little Owl is a small sedentary owl. It takes prey such as insects, earthworms and amphibians. It is partly diurnal and often perches prominently. It is found in open country such as mixed farmland and parkland. It usually nests in holes in trees or rocks.

The Little Owl has a large head and yellow eyes, and its white “eyebrows” give it a stern expression. This species has a bounding flight like a woodpecker. The call is a querulous “kee-ik”. There is a grey-brown Middle Eastern race. A. n. lilith.

The Little Owl was sacred to the goddess Athene, from whom it gets the generic name.

See also bird of prey.