Members of the genus Ninox are hawk owls, ranging from small to large, with rounded heads without ear-tufts. They have long, pointed wings and a long tail. The nostrils are forward facing on an enlarged cere in an indistinct facial disk. There are at least 20 species in this genus, from Siberia through much of the Pacific rim, South-east Asia and Australasia.
The throat is rufous with dark stripes and the lower breast is white with dark stripes. Upper parts are light brown with fine, widely spaced dark brown stripes. Scapulars are white. The underside of the flight feathers are barred rufous and cream, and the upperside is barred rufous and dark brown. The tail has 12-13 dark brown bars on a light rufous-brown background. The legs are feathered on the front down to the toes, but almost bare on the back. The toes have bristly feathers on the top. Feet are yellow, as are the claws, which have have a grey-black tip (owlpages.com).
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Ninox sumbaensis was recently formally described, although the taxa has been known to ornithologists since the late 1980s. It is currently very poorly known and has only been recorded from three localities on Sumba, Indonesia.