This superorder is represented by the sole order Strigiformes comprising the following families:

  • Strigidae (Typical Owls)
  • Tytonidae (Barn Owls)

Timetree of the family-level relationships within Strigiformes based on Kuhl et al. (2021), with the distribution of each taxon being indicated by the colour-code used throughout this website (see Distribution code).  


Phylogeny of Strigiformes based on Fuchs et al. (2008), Uva et al. (2018) and Salter et al. (2019), with the distribution of each taxon being indicated by the colour-code used throughout this website (see Distribution code).  


Fuchs, J., J.-M. Pons, S.M.. Goodman, V. Bretagnolle,M. Melo, R.C.K. Bowie, D. Currie, R.Safford, M.Z. Virani, S. Thomsett, A. Hija, C, Cruaud and E.

Pasquet (2008), Tracing the colonization history of the Indian Ocean scops-owls (Strigiformes: Otus) with further insight into the spation-temporal origin of thr Malagasy avifauna, BMC Evol. Biol. 8, 197. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-8-197. (pdf)

Kang, H., B. Li, X. Ma, and Y. Xu (2018), Evolutionary progression of mitochondrial gene rearrangements and phylogenetic relationships in Strigidae

(Strigiformes), Gene 674, 8-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.gene.2018.06.066. (abstract)

Kuhl, H., C. Frankl-Vilches, A. Bakker, G. Mayr, G. Nikolaus, S.T. Boerno, S. Klages, B. Timmermann, and M. Gahr (2021), An unbiased molecular approach

 using 3'UTRs resolves the avian family-level tree of life, Mol. Biol. Evol. 38(1), 108-127. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msaa191. (pdf)

 Liu, G., L. Zhou, and G. Zhao (2019), Complete mitochondrial genomes of five raptors and implications for the phylogenetic relationships between owls and

nightjars, PeerJ Preprints, publ: 12 Jan 2019. DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.27478v1. (pdf)

Salter, J.F., C.H. Oliveros, P.A. Hosner, J.D. Manthey, M.B. Robbins, R.G. Moyle, R.T. Brumfield, and B.C. Faircloth (2019), Extensive paraphyly in the

typical owl family (Strigidae), Auk 137, 1-15. DOI: 10.1093/auk/ukz070. (pdf)

Sun, C.-H., H.-Y. Liu, X. Min, and C.-H. Lu (2020), Mitogenome of the little owl Athene noctua and phylogenetic analysis of Strigidae, Int. J. Biol.

Mac. 151, 924-931. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2020.02.238. (abstract)

Uva, V., M. Päckert, A. Cibois, L. Fumagalli, and A. Roulin (2018), Comprehensive molecular phylogeny of barn owls and relatives (family: Tytonidae), and

their six major Pleistocene radiations, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 125, 127-137. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2018.03.013.

Wink, M., A.-A. El-Sayed, H. Sauer-Gürth, and J. Gonzalez (2009), Molecular phylogeny of owls (Strigiformes) inferred from DNA sequences of the

mitochondrial cytochrome B and the nuclear RAG-1 gene, Ardea 97(4), 581-591. DOI: 10.5253/078.097.0425. (pdf)

 Zhou, C., Y. Chen, Y. Hao, Y. Meng, B. Yue, and T. Zeng (2019), Characterization of the complete mitochondrial genome and phylogenetic analysis of Otus

sunia (Strigiformes: Strigidae), Mitochondrial DNA Part B 4(1), 804-805. DOI: 10.1080/23802359.2019.1574643. (pdf)