Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - HBW 5, p. 225

French: Chevêche d’Athéna German: Steinkauz Spanish: Mochuelo Europeo

Taxonomy: Strix noctua Scopoli, 1769, Krain, Carniolia.
Probably forms superspecies with A. brama. Race lilith shown in recent studies to differ in DNA and vocal patterns, may be separate species. Many races considered probably intermediate populations or reflection of individual variation, while geographical subspecific boundaries obscure, with intergrading populations: vidalii and indigena intergrade over wide area in NW Russia; noctua intergrades with vidalii over wide area from S France E to Czech and Slovak Republics and with indigena in former Yugoslavia; indigena and vidalii int.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Strix noctua Scopoli, 1769, Krain, Carniolia.
Probably forms superspecies with A. brama. Race lilith shown in recent studies to differ in DNA and vocal patterns, may be separate species. Many races considered probably intermediate populations or reflection of individual variation, while geographical subspecific boundaries obscure, with intergrading populations: vidalii and indigena intergrade over wide area in NW Russia; noctua intergrades with vidalii over wide area from S France E to Czech and Slovak Republics and with indigena in former Yugoslavia; indigena and vidalii intergrade in N Ukraine, Belarus and C Russia; lilith intergrades with saharae in Saudi Arabia and with bactriana in Iraq. Corsican and Sardinian birds perhaps warrant subspecific status (as sarda). Proposed races kessleri and caucasica synonymous with indigena; solitudinis synonymous with saharae. Thirteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • vidalii A. E. Brehm, 1857 - W & N Europe (S Baltic S to Iberia, including Balearic Is) E to NW Russia.
  • noctua (Scopoli, 1769) - C Europe (from about S Germany) S to Sardinia and Sicily, E to Romania.
  • indigena C. L. Brehm, 1855 - Albania, SE Yugoslavia, S & E Romania, S Ukraine, S Russia, Caucasus and SW Siberia, S to Crete, Turkey (except SE) and Middle East (S to Haifa).

     See all 13 subspecies
  • vidalii A. E. Brehm, 1857 - W & N Europe (S Baltic S to Iberia, including Balearic Is) E to NW Russia.
  • noctua (Scopoli, 1769) - C Europe (from about S Germany) S to Sardinia and Sicily, E to Romania.
  • indigena C. L. Brehm, 1855 - Albania, SE Yugoslavia, S & E Romania, S Ukraine, S Russia, Caucasus and SW Siberia, S to Crete, Turkey (except SE) and Middle East (S to Haifa).
  • glaux (Savigny, 1809) - N Africa, and coastal Israel S from Haifa.
  • saharae (Kleinschmidt, 1909) - N & C Sahara (S to Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan), E discontinuously into Arabian Peninsula.
  • spilogastra (Heuglin, 1869) - E Sudan, N Ethiopia.
  • somaliensis Reichenow, 1905 - E Ethiopia, Somalia.
  • lilith Hartert, 1913 - Cyprus, and inland Middle East from SE Turkey S to S Sinai.
  • bactriana Blyth, 1847 - from SE Azerbaijan, E Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan E through C Asia to L Balkhash.
  • orientalis Severetzov, 1873 - extreme NW China and adjacent Siberia.
  • impasta Bangs & J. L. Peters, 1928 - Kokonor, W Gansu.
  • ludlowi Stuart Baker, 1926 - SC China and S & E Tibet, S to N Himalayas.
  • plumipes Swinhoe, 1870 - NE China, Mongolia and Ussuriland.