Members of the genus Strix are the wood owls. They are medium to large owls, having a large, rounded head and no ear-tufts. The comparatively large eyes range from yellow through to dark brown. Colouring is generally designed fro camouflage in woodland, and a number of the member of this genus have colour phases. There are 20 species scattered practically throughout the globe with the exception of Australasia, the South Pacific and Madagascar, where the genus Ninox takes its place. There being no clear generic differences between Strix and Ciccaba genera, and DNA evidence suggesting very close relationships, many authorities now merge the latter into the former.
Listen to the sound of Rufous-banded Owl
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
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Video Rufous-banded Owl
copyright: Martin Kennewell
Some authorities (Sibley & Monroe, 1996; IOC 1.6, 2008) retain Mottled Owl (virgata), Black-and-white Owl (nigrolineata), Black-banded Owl (huhula), and Rufous-banded Owl (albitarsis) in the genus Strix. Knig et al. state that the general morphology and phylogenetic evidence of these four species does not indicate separation from the rest of Strix, and Restall goes on to explain that they were originally separated into the genus Ciccaba based on anatomy of the external ear. While Clements (2007) and Howard & Moore (2003) do recognize Black-and-white Owl and Black-banded Owl as being in Ciccaba, Howard & Moore deviate from Clements and retain Mottled Owl and Rufous-banded Owl in Strix alongside aforementioned authorities. The Opus awaits further clarification.