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

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

Family-level timetree of the family-level relationships within extant 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).  

Genus-level timetree of extant Strigiformes, with the distribution of each taxon being indicated by the colour-code used throughout this website (see Distribution code).  


Dantas SM, Weckstein JD, Bates JM, Krabbe NK, Cadena CD, Robbins MB, Valderrama E, and Aleixo A (2016), Molecular systematics of the new world screech-owls (Megascops: Aves, Strigidae): biogeographic and taxonomic implications, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 94, 626-634. (pdf)


Dantas SMWeckstein JD, Bates J, Oliveira JN, Catanach TA, and Aleixo A (2021), Multi-character taxonomic review, systematics, and biogeography of the Black-capped/Tawny-bellied Screech Owl (Megascops atricapilla/M. watsonii) complex (Aves: Strigidae), Zootaxa 4949, 401-444(pdf)


Fuchs J, Pons JM, Goodman SM, Bretagnolle V, Melo M, Bowie RCK, Currie D, Safford R, Virani MZ, Thomsett S, Hija A, Cruaud C, and Pasquet E (2008), Tracing the colonization history of the Indian Ocean scops-owls (Strigiformes: Otus) with further insight into the spatio-temporal origin of the Malagasy avifauna, BMC Evol. Biol. 2008, 8:197. (pdf)


Kang H, Li B, Ma X, and Xu Y (2018), Evolutionary progression of mitochondrial gene rearrangements and phylogenetic relationships in Strigidae (Strigiformes), Gene 674, 8-14. (abstract)


Koparde P, Mehta P, Reddy S, Ramakrishnan U, Mukherjee S, and Robin VV (2018), The critically endangered forest owlet Heteroglaux blewetti is nested within the currently recognized Athene clade: a century-old debate addressed, PLoS ONE 13(2):e0192359. (pdf)


Kuhl H, Frankl-Vilches C, Bakker A, Mayr G, Nikolaus G, Boerno ST, Klages S, Timmermann B, and Gahr M (2021), An unbiased molecular approach using 3'UTRs resolves the avian family-level tree of life, Mol. Biol. Evol. 38, 108-127. (pdf)



Liu G, Zhou L, and Zhao G (2019), Complete mitochondrial genomes of five raptors and implications for the phylogenetic relationships between owls and nightjars, PeerJ Preprints. 7: e27478v1. (pdf)


Park CE, Kim MC, Ibal JCP, Pham HQ, Park HC, and Shin JH (2019), The complete mitochondrial genome sequence of Otus bakkamoena (Aves, Strigiformes, Strigidae), Mitochondrial DNA Part B 4, 775-776. (pdf)


Salter JF, Oliveros CH, Hosner PA, Manthey JD, Robbins MB, Moyle RG, Brumfield RT, and Faircloth BC (2020), Extensive paraphyly in the typical owl family (Strigidae), The Auk 137, 1:ukz070. (pdf)


Sun X, Zhou W, Sun Z, Qian L, Zhang Y, Pan T, and Zhang B (2016), The complete mitochondrial genome of Glaucidium brodiei (Strigiformes: Strigidae), Mitochondrial DNA Part A 27:4, 2508-2509. (abstract) 


Sun CH, Liu HY, Min X, and Lu CH (2020), Mitogenome of the little owl Athene noctua and phylogenetic analysis of Strigidae, Int. J. Biol. Mac. 151, 924-931. (abstract)


Uva V, Päckert M, Cibois A, Fumagalli L, and Roulin A (2018), Comprehensive molecular phylogeny of barn owls and relatives (Family: Tytonidae), and their six major Pleistocene radiations, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 125, 127-137.
 (abstract, open manuscipt)


Wink M, El-Sayed AA, Sauer-Gürth H, and Gonzalez J (2009), Molecular phylogeny of owls (Strigiformes) inferred from DNA sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b and the nuclear RAG-1 gene, Ardea 97, 581-591. (pdf)



Zhou C, Chen Y, Hao Y, Meng Y, Yue B, and Zeng T (2019), Characterization of the complete mitochondrial genome and phylogenetic analysis of Otus sunia (Strigiformes: Strigidae), Mitochondrial DNA Part B 4:1, 804-805(pdf)