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(Athene noctua), a bird of the order Strigiformes. It measures about 25 cm long and weighs 150-170 g. The males and the females have similar coloration: the upper parts are brown or sandy, the humeral feathers have round white spots, and the underparts are white with long brownish streaks. The little owl is distributed in central and southern Europe, northern Africa, and Asia (except for the north). In the USSR it is found in the central and southern zones of the European part and in Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, the southern Altai, Tuva, and Transbaikalia. In the European part of the USSR it settles near dwellings and nests in buildings. In the east it lives in the dry steppes and deserts, nesting in burrows, rockpiles, and the like. It lays a clutch with four-six eggs. The little owl feeds on small rodents, insects, and more rarely, on birds. It is a sedentary bird. A closely related species, A. brama, lives in southern Asia.