Ninox is a genus of true owls comprising about 35 species found in Asia and Australasia. Many species are known as hawk-owls or boobooks, but the northern hawk-owl (Surnia ulula) is not a member of this genus.

(Ninox novaeseelandiae)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Ninox
Hodgson, 1837
Type species
Strix lugubris
Tickell 1833


The genus was introduced by English naturalist Brian Houghton Hodgson in 1837 with the type species as Ninox nipalensis, a junior synonym of Strix lugubris Tickell 1833. Strix lugubris is now considered a subspecies of the brown hawk-owl (Ninox scutula lugubris).[1][2]


The genus contains 36 species:[3]

Genomic studies of the extinct laughing owl of New Zealand indicate that it actually belongs in Ninox rather than the monotypic genus Sceloglaux.[4] The fossil owls "Otus" wintershofensis and "Strix" brevis, both from the Early or Middle Miocene of Wintershof, Germany, are close to this genus; the latter was sometimes explicitly placed in Ninox (Olson 1985), but is now in Intutula. "Strix" edwardsi from the Late Miocene of La Grive St. Alban, France, might also belong into this group.[citation needed]

Moluccan hawk-owl (N. squamipila) (left); Timor boobook (N. boobook fusca) (right)

In human cultureEdit

  • "NINOX" is an Australian Army project to develop night-vision goggles; it is named after Ninox strenua.


  1. ^ Hodgson, Brian Houghton (1837). "Indication of a new genus belonging to the Strigine family, with description of the new species and type". Madras Journal of Literature and Science. 5: 23–25.
  2. ^ Dickinson, E.C.; Remsen, J.V., Jr., eds. (2013). The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. Vol. 1: Non-passerines (4th ed.). Eastbourne, UK: Aves Press. p. 258. ISBN 978-0-9568611-0-8.
  3. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (January 2021). "Owls". IOC World Bird List Version 11.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  4. ^ Wood, Jamie R.; Mitchell, Kieren J.; Scofield, R. Paul; Pietri, Vanesa L. De; Rawlence, Nicolas J.; Cooper, Alan (2016). "Phylogenetic relationships and terrestrial adaptations of the extinct laughing owl, Sceloglaux albifacies (Aves: Strigidae)". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. doi:10.1111/zoj.12483. ISSN 1096-3642.
  • Olson, Storrs L. (1985): IX.C. Strigiformes. In: Farner, D.S.; King, J.R. & Parkes, Kenneth C. (eds.): Avian Biology 8: 129–132. Academic Press, New York.

Further readingEdit

  • Gwee, CC.Y.; Christidis, L.; Eaton, J.A.; Norman, J.A.; Trainor, C.R.; Verbelen, P.; Rheindt, F.E. (2017). "Bioacoustic and multi-locus DNA data of Ninox owls support high incidence of extinction and recolonisation on small, low-lying islands across Wallacea". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 109: 246–58. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.12.024. PMID 28017857.