Thursday, March 4, 2010

Athene Noctua

I thought I would devote a bit of space to Athena's animal companion, the Little Owl.

The Latin name for the Little Owl is Athene noctua, which will come as no surprise to my Wiccan and Thelemic brethren as I've been using the name "Noctua" publicly in those circles for more years than I wish to count. Glaux, the name I use in Hellenic groups, is the Greek word for this same type of owl.

The Little Owl is native to most of the warmer parts of Europe, Asia, and north Africa. It is not native to Great Britain, but was naturalized there. It was also successfully introduced to New Zealand. It is closely related to the American Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia).

There is a gray Middle Eastern type of Athene noctua known as the Syrian Little Owl. The ornithological journal Dutch Birding has advocated naming it a separate species: Lilith's Owl (Athene glaux).

The Little Owl is famously depicted on the "tail" side of Greek coins, from the earliest silver tetradrachms to the Greek Euro.

Here is a lovely video of a Little Owl in the wilds of Spain.

1 comment:

  1. I love owls! :) Have you seen the preview for the new movie by the 300 director Zack Snyder ( ? (OvO)!