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Barn owls
Temporal range: Late Eocene tae present
Australie masked oul (Tyto novaehollandiae)
Scientific classification e
Kinrick: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Cless: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Faimily: Tytonidae
Ridgway, 1914

For fossil genera, see airticle.

  • Tytoninae sensu Sibley & Ahlquist

Barn-houlets (faimily Tytonidae) are ane o the twa faimilies o houlets, the ither bein the true houlets, Strigidae. Thay are medium tae lairge sized houlets wi muckle heids an characteristic heart-shaped faces. Thay hae lang, strang legs wi pouerful talons. Thay differ frae Strigidae in structural details relatin in particular tae the sternum an feet an aw.

The barn houlets comprise twa extant sub-faimilies: the Tytoninae or Tyto houlets (includin the Common Barn Houlet) an the Phodilinae or bay-houlets. The Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy unites the Caprimulgiformes wi the houlet order; here, the barn-houlets are a subfaimily Tytoninae. This is unsupportit bi mair recent research (see Cypselomorphae), but the relationships o the houlets in general are still unresolved.

The barn houlets are a wide rangin faimily, altho thay are absent frae northren North Americae, Saharan Africae an lairge auries o Asie. Thay live in a wide range o habitats frae deserts tae forests, an frae temperate latitudes tae the tropics. The majority o the 16 livin species o barn houlets are puirly kent. Some, like the Reid Houlet, hae barely been seen or studied syne thair discovery, in contrast tae the Common Barn Houlet, which is ane o the best kent houlet species in the warld. However, some sub-species o the Common Barn Houlet possibly deserve tae be a separate species, but are very puirly kent.

Five species o barn-houlet are threatened, an some island species hae gone extinct durin the Holocene or earlier (e.g. Tyto pollens, kent frae the fossil record o Andros Island in the Bahamas, an possibly the basis for the Chickcharnie). The barn-houlets are maistly nocturnal, an generally non-migratory, livin in pairs or singly.

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