Little owl– Athene noctua
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Class: Aves
- Order: Strigiformes
- Family: Strigidae
- Genre: Athene
- Species: Athene noctua
The little owl is a species of small night owl, often found in villages near people’s homes. Body length is 23-27 cm, wing span is 50 – 57 cm. Weighs 162 – 206 grams.
The bird has a compact shape, large, rounded head, flattened crown, long legs and short tail. The sexes are similar, the female being slightly larger. The head and dorsal side are brown with white spots, and the ventral side is white with vertically oriented brown spots. Above the yellow eyes there is a pronounced white eyebrow. The oblique orientation of the white eyebrows above the large yellow eyes, the beak with the hooked tip of the jaw, gives the cuckoo the appearance of an extremely serious man, the cuckoo being a symbol of wisdom.
Although in the folklore of many peoples the song of the cuckoo is a harbinger of death and various misfortunes, this belief has no basis in fact. Attracted by the insects that swarm in the brightly lit areas, it often makes its appearance in places where people gather for wakes, and thus has attracted this unfortunate fame, which has over time brought it the hatred of people and their attempt to unjustly exterminate this otherwise very well-known and sympathetic bird.
The name of the genus comes from the name of the goddess Athena, represented in Greek mythology accompanied by a cuckoo, symbol of wisdom. It is the emblem of the city of Athens. The goddess of wisdom accompanied by the cucuvea also appears on the logo of the Romanian Academy. It appears on the reverse of many Greek coins. The species name noctua, is the Latin name of the species of night bird of prey, companion of the goddess Minerva, the Roman equivalent of the goddess of wisdom of Athens.