Owls are birds comprising the order Strigiformes, which includes about two hundred species of mostly solitary and nocturnal birds of prey typified by an upright stance, a large, broad head, binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons, and feathers adapted for silent flight. Owls are divided into two families: the true owls or typical owls, Strigidae; and the barn-owls, Tytonidae.
Approximately 29 different species of owls are mentioned in the Guardians of Ga'hoole series, although some do not appear as characters.
All owl species mentioned in Guardians of Ga'hoole
The Barn Owls, heart-shaped face, long legs, long wings, dark eyes.
The Bay Owls, small, with V-shaped faces.
The Earless Owls or Wood Owls, round heads, robustly built, hooting vocalization. Strix is Latin for "owl", but it also referred to a mythical vampiric owl-monster. Until the late 19th century, many other owls were included in this genus.
The Horned Owls and Eagle-Owls, generally large and powerful, most with ear-tufts. Bubo is Latin for the Eurasian Eagle-Owl.
The Forest Owls or Saw-whet Owls, small with relatively long wings, and large round heads. Aegolius is Latin for "screech owl", but is derived from a Greek word meaning "a bird of ill omen".
The Screech Owls, once part of the genus Otus, they were eventually split into their own genus. They are restricted to the Americas. All relatively small, with erect ear-tufts, and short, rounded wings. Megascops means "great watcher".
- Eastern Screech Owl
- Rufescent Screech Owl
- Tropical Screech Owl
- Western Screech Owl
- Whiskered Screech Owl
The Eared Owls, medium-sized with long wings, and feather tufts that give the appearance of ears. Asio means "eared owl".
The Little Owls, short tails, rounded wings, yellow eyes. Athene is derived from the Greek goddess Athena, who was often depicted with an owl.
Only one species, the world's smallest owl, short tail and long legs.
The Pygmy Owls, very small, with rounded heads, and relatively powerful talons.
The Fish Owls, rather large and powerful, with horizontal ear-tufts. Sometimes placed in Bubo. Ketupa is a generic name for Fish Owl species from Java or India.
Only one species, completely diurnal, medium-sized with long, pointed wings.
Only one species, once part of the genus Otus, but despite similarities, it's not related to the Scops Owls or Screech Owls.
The Scops Owls, relatively small, with ear-tufts, and short, rounded wings.
How Species are Portrayed in the Series
In the series, some species of owls share similar personality traits and stereotypes.
Barn Owls are renowned for their extraordinary sense of hearing. The Pure Ones, the main antagonists of the series, are an organization of Tytonidae owls who believe Barn Owls are superior to all other owl species.
Spotted Owls are portrayed as being very proud. Many come from prestigious families in the Northern Kingdoms. They are sensitive to pressure differentials in the atmosphere, which has a habit of making them fussy and finicky. They're portrayed as being very knowledgable in many different fields.
Great Horned Owls
Snowy Owls are stereotyped as being stubborn, as mentioned by Grank when describing Myrrthe.
Several owl species are either only mentioned, or only appear as one-off characters with no name.
- The Capture: Soren mentions Bay Owls living in Tyto, but none have ever appeared as characters.
- The Siege: while the Chaw of Chaws is infiltrating St. Aggie's, an Eastern Screech Owl who just received his new name, Mook, gives the speech about how questions are forbidden.
- The Burning: a Flammulated Owl, who is a member of the Frost Beaks, teaches Gylfie and Martin how to fight with ice splinters. It's mentioned that all Flammulated Owls speak in low and somewhat mellow whoops.
- The War of the Ember: a young Scops Owl (most likely a Eurasian Scops Owl) lieutenant from the Frost Beaks arrives to deliver a message to Coryn.
- Lost Tales of Ga'Hoole: as Fritha flies through kraal territory to visit her father, she passes by what she guesses was a Long-eared Owl, but as it was painted in at least five different colors, it could've been a Striped Owl.
- A Guide Book to the Great Tree: Otulissa talks about how on her first Punkie Night, she wore a mask to look like a Rufescent Screech Owl.