Three little owl juveniles perched on apple tree

Athene owls

Athene owls are named after the Greek goddess of civilisation and wisdom, Athena, whose symbol was an owl. Folk tradition on the wisdom of owls survives to this day. There are four species of Athene owls, including the burrowing owl. Some species - such as the little owl - hunt during the day rather than at night. There are several extinct species, including a large flightless owl which once lived on the island of Crete.

Scientific name: Athene

Rank: Genus


Map showing the distribution of the Athene owls taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Athene owls can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, Europe, Indian subcontinent, North America, Russia, South America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web