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 (Distribution code).  

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

Species-level classification of extant Strigiformes. 


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 SM, Weckstein 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)

Gwee CC, Christidis L, Eaton JA, Norman JA, Trainor CR, Verbelen P, and Rheindt FE (2017), Bioacoustic and multi-locus DNA data of Ninox owls support high incidence of extinction and recolonization on small, low-lying islands across Walacea, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 109, 246-258. (abstract)

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), e:0192359. (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, e:27478v1. (pdf) 

Melo M, Freitas B, Verbelen P, da Costa SR, Pereira H, Fuchs J, Sangster G, Correia MN, de Lima RF, and Crottini A (2022), A new species of scops-owl (Aves, Strigiformes, Strigidae, Otus) from Príncipe Island (Gulf of Guinea, Africa) and novel insights into the systematic affinities within Otus, ZooKeys 1126, 1-54. (free pdf)

Miranda HC, Kennedy RS, and Mindell DP (1997), Phylogenetic placement of Mimizuku gurneyi (Aves: Strigidae) inferred from mitochondrial DNA, Auk 114, 315-323. (pdf)

Miranda HC, Brooks DM, and Kennedy RS (2011), Phylogeny and taxonomic review of Philippine lowland scops owls (Strigiformes): parallel diversification of highland and lowland clades, Wilson J. Ornith. 123, 441-453. (abstract)

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), e: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)

Wang Y, Zhan H, Zhang Y, Long Z, and Yang X (2023), Mitochondrial genome analysis, phylogeny and divergence time evaluation of Strix aluco (Aves, Strigiformes, Strigidae), Biodiv. Data J. 11, e:101942. (free pdf)

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)

Wink M, and Sauer-Gürth H (2021), Molecular taxonomy and systematics of owls (Strigiformes) - an update, AIRO 29, 487-500. (pdf)

Wood JR, Mitchell KJ, Scofield RP, de Pietri VL, Rawlence NJ, and Cooper A (2018), Phylogenetic relationships and terrestrial adaptations of the extinct Laughing Owl, Sceloglaux albifacies (Aves: Strigidae), ZoolJ. Linn. Soc. 179, 907-918. (pdf)