Owls are birds from the order Strigiformes, which includes about two hundred species of mostly solitary and nocturnal birds of prey typified by an upright stance, a large, broad head, binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons, and feathers adapted for silent flight. Exceptions include the diurnal northern hawk-owl and the gregarious burrowing owl.

Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds although a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found in all regions of the Earth except Antarctica and some remote islands.

Owls are divided into two families: the true owls or typical owls, Strigidae; and the barn-owls, Tytonidae.

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