|Owls are a group of birds that belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 extant bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions (e.g., the Northern Hawk Owl). Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found in all regions of the Earth except Antarctica, most of Greenland, and some remote islands. Owls are characterized by their small beaks and wide faces.
Owls have large forward-facing eyes and ear-holes; a hawk-like beak; a flat face; and usually a conspicuous circle of feathers, a facial disc, around each eye. The feathers making up this disc can be adjusted in order to sharply focus sounds that come from varying distances onto the owls' asymmetrically placed ear cavities. Most birds of prey sport eyes on the sides of their heads, but the stereoscopic nature of the owl's forward-facing eyes permits the greater sense of depth perception necessary for low-light hunting. Although owls have binocular vision, their large eyes are fixed in their sockets—as are those of other birds—so they must turn their entire head to change views. As owls are farsighted, they are unable to see clearly anything within a few centimeters of their eyes. Caught prey can be felt by owls with the use of filoplumes—like feathers on the beak and feet that act as "feelers". Their far vision, particularly in low light, is exceptionally good.
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|African grass owl||Australian masked owl||Barn owl||Blakiston's fish owl|
|Brown hawk-owl||Burrowing owl||Eastern screech owl||Eurasian eagle-owl|
|Great grey owl||Great horned owl||Japanese scops owl||Little owl|
|Long-eared owl||Northern white-faced owl||Buffy fish owl||Short-eared owl|
|Snowy owl||Southern boobook||Spectacled owl||Striped owl|
|Tawny owl||Ural owl|