45 NIGHTBIRDS: Names and Types - With Pictures!

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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 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 moors 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 Green Ecologist 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 by almost every corner of the world. Let's discover them in this nocturnal bird names list:

  • Royal Owl (Bubo bubo)
  • American Eagle Owl (Bubo virginianus)
  • Ashy owlBubo cinerascens)
  • Cape Owl (Bubo capensis)
  • Striped owlBubo shelleyi)
  • Bengal Eagle Owl (Bubo bengalensis)
  • Great horned owlLophostrix cristata)
  • Spotted owlStrix occidentalis)
  • Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus)
  • Long-eared owlAsio otus)
  • Guinea owl (Bubo poensis)
  • Philippine owl (Bubo philippensis)
  • Desert owlBubo ascalaphus)
  • Moorish owlAsio capensis)
  • Magellanic owl (Bubo magellanicus)
  • Verreaux's owl (Bubo lacteus)
  • Great horned owl or ñacurutú (Bubo virginianus nacurutu)
  • Barn owlTyto alba)
  • Country owlAsio flammeus)
  • Great Malay Owl (Bubo sumatranus)
  • Long-eared owlPseudoscops clamator)
  • Spectacled owlPulstrix perspicillata)
  • Blackish owlAsio stygius)
  • European owl (Athene noctua)
  • Costa Rican little owl (Glaucidium costaricanum)
  • Blewitt's Owl (Athene blewitti)
  • Pearl owlGlaucidium perlatum)
  • Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia)
  • Jungle owlGlaucidium radiatum)
  • Andean owl (Glaucidium jardinii)
  • Saguaro owl (Micrathene whitneyi)
  • Hairy owlXenoglaux loweryi)
  • Amazon owl (Glaucidium hardyi)
  • Alpine owl (Glaucidium passerinum)
  • Cinnamon owlAegolius harrisii)
  • Boreal owl (Aegolius funereus)
  • Red-breasted owlGlaucidium tephronotum)
  • Chuncho (Glaucidium nana)
  • Guatemalan scops owl (Megascops guatemalae)
  • Peaceful ScopshotMegascops cooperi)
  • Choliba Scops (Megascops choliba)
  • Hawk tawny owl (Surnia howls)
  • Tawny owl brownStrix virgata)
  • Himalayan Owl (Strix nivicolum)
  • California owl (Strix occidentalis)

Now that you know all these examples of nocturnal birds, you may be interested in knowing more about nocturnal and diurnal animals: characteristics, list and photos. Also, if you like these nocturnal birds of prey, here you will be able to meet more and other diurnal ones, 112 birds of prey or raptors: types, names and photos.

Night birds: taxonomic classification

The nocturnal birds that exist in nature belong to the group of those commonly known as nocturnal birds of prey. This group of birds, belonging to the Order Strigif.webpormes, 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. Are considered great hunting birds and 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, strigif.webporm 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 the next:

  • Domain: Eukaryota
  • Animalia Kingdom
  • Edge: Chordates
  • Class: birds
  • Order: Strigif.webpormes

To learn more about these feathered animals, we recommend you enter this link to our article on the Characteristics of birds.

Night birds: types and characteristics

When classifying the different types of nocturnal birds of prey that exist, there are two large families of strigif.webpormes: the family of the strigids (owls, owls or chunchos, tawny owls and scops) and the family of the titónids (owls). Next, we talk more about these two types of nocturnal birds and their characteristics:

Strigid family

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: the owlets or chunchos (genera Glaucidum, Athene and Aegolium, among others); the scops (genera Otus and Megascops), and the tawny owls (genus Strix and Surnia).

Titonidae family

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. Within this family are included the birds of the genus Tyto and Phodilus, being the barn owl (Tyto alba) and the asian horned owl (Phodilus badius) 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.

Nocturnal Bird Photo Gallery

Next, we offer a photo gallery in which you will find night bird images. 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.

If you want to read more articles similar to Night birds: names and types, we recommend that you enter our Wild Animals category.

  • Rivera, E. et al., (2012) Occupation and abundance of nocturnal birds of prey (Strigidae) in the Selva El Ocote Biosphere Reserve, Chiapas, Mexico. Mexican journal of biodiversity, Volume 83 (3).
  • Freile, J., Castro, D. & Varela, S. (2012) State of knowledge, distribution and conservation of nocturnal birds of prey in Ecuador. Neotropical Ornithology Magazine, Volume 23, pp: 235-244.

Photos of nocturnal birds: names and types

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