As its name suggests, nocturnal birds are characterized by being active at night. To be able to hunt and find their prey, nocturnal birds have developed throughout their evolution a whole series of adaptations and strategies, such as their ease of flying without making noise and thus surprising unsuspecting prey, as well as a heightened sense of hearing and vision. These types of birds constitute one of the most diverse and abundant groups of birds on the planet, since they are present in almost all terrestrial ecosystems, flooding forests and moorlands with life at dusk.
If you want to learn more about the characteristics of the mysterious nocturnal birds, as well as many examples of these birds, continue reading this AgroCorrn article in which you will discover 45 nocturnal birds: names and types with photos .
Night birds: species names
How many species of nocturnal birds would you say exist on the planet? Beyond the majestic eagle owl and the elusive barn owl, there is a great diversity of nocturnal raptor species distributed in almost every corner of the world. Let’s discover them in this list of nocturnal bird names :
- Eagle owl ( Bubo bubo )
- American Eagle Owl ( Bubo virginianus )
- Ashy owl ( Bubo cinerascens )
- Cape Owl ( Bubo capensis )
- Striped owl ( Bubo shelleyi )
- Bengal Eagle Owl ( Bubo bengalensis )
- Great horned owl ( Lophostrix cristata )
- Spotted owl ( Strix occidentalis )
- Snowy Owl ( Bubo scandiacus )
- Long-eared owl ( Asio otus )
- Guinea owl ( Bubo poensis )
- Philippine owl ( Bubo philippensis )
- Desert Owl ( Bubo ascalaphus )
- Moorish owl ( Asio capensis )
- Magellanic owl ( Bubo magellanicus )
- Verreaux’s owl ( Bubo lacteus )
- Great horned owl or ñacurutu ( Bubo virginianus nacurutu )
- Barn owl ( Tyto alba )
- Short-eared owl ( Asio flammeus )
- Great Malay Owl ( Bubo sumatranus )
- Long-eared owl ( Pseudoscops clamator )
- Spectacled Owl (Pulstrix perspicillata )
- Black owl ( Asio stygius )
- European owl ( Athene noctua )
- Costa Rican little owl ( Glaucidium costaricanum )
- Blewitt’s Owl ( Athene blewitti )
- Pearl Owl ( Glaucidium perlatum )
- Burrowing Owl ( Athene cunicularia )
- Jungle Owl ( Glaucidium radiatum )
- Andean owl ( Glaucidium jardinii )
- Saguaro Owl ( Micrathene whitneyi )
- Hairy owl ( Xenoglaux loweryi )
- Amazon owl ( Glaucidium hardyi )
- Alpine owl ( Glaucidium passerinum )
- Cinnamon Owl ( Aegolius harrisii )
- Boreal owl ( Aegolius funereus )
- Red-breasted owl ( Glaucidium tephronotum )
- Chuncho ( Glaucidium nana )
- Guatemalan scops owl ( Megascops guatemalae )
- Pacific Scopshot ( Megascops cooperi )
- Choliba Scops ( Megascops choliba )
- Hawk tawny owl ( Surnia ulula )
- Tawny owl ( Strix virgata )
- Himalayan Owl ( Strix nivicolum )
- California Owl ( Strix occidentalis )
Now that you know all these examples of nocturnal birds , you may be interested in learning more about nocturnal and diurnal animals: characteristics, list and photos . Also, if you like these nocturnal birds of prey, here you can meet more and other diurnal ones, 112 birds of prey or birds of prey: types, names and photos
Night birds: taxonomic classification
The nocturnal birds that exist in nature belong to the group commonly known as nocturnal raptors . This group of birds, belonging to the Order Strigiformes , is characterized by having amazing adaptations that allow them to have a magnificent hearing capacity, as well as the ability to not make noise when flying to attack their unsuspecting prey at night. They are considered great hunting birdsand their diet includes, mainly, mammals and other small birds, which they gobble when they are still alive. As a consequence of this act of swallowing the entire prey, strigiform birds frequently expel remains of bones and hair or feathers from their prey in the form of balls, called pellets.
The taxonomic classification of nocturnal raptors is as follows:
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Animalia Kingdom
- Edge: Chordates
- Class: birds
- Order: Strigiformes
Night birds: types and characteristics
When it comes to classifying the different types of nocturnal birds of prey that exist, two large families of strigiforms are distinguished: the family of strigids (owls, owls or chunchos, tawny owls and scops) and the family of titons (owls). Next, we talk more about these two types of nocturnal birds and their characteristics :
Birds belonging to the Stringidae family find their natural habitat on almost every continent on the planet, with the exception of Antarctica, much of Greenland, and on certain very remote islands. They are characterized by having a rounded face and a short beak, as well as by being able to turn their neck 270º, since their eyes lack mobility and can only see forward. Some characteristic small raised feathers are located on both sides of the head, recognized as false ears, since the true ones are located on the sides of its bright yellow eyes.
To this extensive family of nocturnal birds of prey belong the majestic owls (genus Bubo), as well as various genera commonly considered as little owls: owls or chunchos (genera Glaucidum, Athene and Aegolium, among others); the scops owls (Otus genres and Screech), and tawny owls (Strix gender and Surnia).
The nocturnal birds of prey belonging to the family of the titonidae are medium in size and their heads are broad, with a characteristic flattened heart shape. This family includes the birds of the genus Tyto and Phodilus, with the common owl ( Tyto alba ) and the Asian horned owl ( Phodilus badius ) being the most prominent species of each genus.
Barn owls are not migratory birds and generally live alone, although some do so in pairs. They are distributed throughout most of the planet, except in the extreme north of North America, as well as in the great Sahara desert and in certain remote areas of Asia. They are very elusive nocturnal birds and difficult to see.
As these two species are the most representative of the two families, we encourage you to read this other article about the Difference between owl and owl .
Night Bird Photo Gallery
Below, we offer a photo gallery in which you will find images of nocturnal birds . Here you can see the surprising species of nocturnal birds of prey that have been cited in the list in the first section and in the same order.