Family III. STRIGINAE. OWLS.
Bill very short, strong, cerate; upper mandible with the tip elongated and decurved; lower mandible with the end rounded and thin-edged. Head extremely large, owing to the wide separation of the tables of the cranium, roundish, more or less vertically flattened behind, feathered. Eyes excessively large, with prominent superciliary ridges, and encircled by series of decomposed feathers. External aperture of ear always very large, frequently excessive, simple or operculate. Tarsus short, very short, or of moderate length, always feathered, as are the toes, of which the outer is versatile, the first shorter than the second, the anterior free; claws very long, slender, curved, extremely acute. Plumage very full and soft. Wings long, broad, rounded, the second, third, and fourth quills longest, the filaments of the outer more or less enlarged and recurved at the end. Tail broad, rather short or of moderate length, of twelve feathers. OEsophagus very wide, without crop or dilatation; stomach very large, round, somewhat membranous, its muscular fasciculi being placed in a single series; intestine short and wide; coeca large, oblong, obtuse, narrowed at the base. Young at first covered with light-coloured down, when fledged, with the face darker than that of adults. Eggs white, somewhat globular or broadly ovate, from four to six. Nests rudely constructed, in hollow trees, on branches, in buildings, or on the ground.