Desert owl

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Desert owl
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Strix
Species: S. hadorami
Binomial name
Strix hadorami
Robb et al, 2013

The desert owl (Strix hadorami) is a species of owl. It is closely related to the more widespread tawny owl.

This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae.

The desert owl breeds in Syria, Israel, northeast Egypt and the Arabian peninsula. Its habitat is palm groves, desert, semi-desert and rocky ravines. It nests in crevices and holes in cliffs. Its diet consists of voles, mice and large insects.

This is a medium-sized earless owl, smaller than the tawny owl at 29–33 cm in length. It is largely nocturnal and sedentary. Its stocky body and round head recall a small tawny owl, but it is paler, less streaked, particularly on the underparts, and has yellow eyes.

The call of the desert owl is a hoooo-ho-ho-ho-ho, described as similar in rhythm to Eurasian collared dove. The female version is deeper and less distinct than the male’s.