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Otus(ō`təs): see AloadaeAloadae
, in Greek mythology, two giants who warred against the Olympian gods. Their names were Otus and Ephialtes, and they were sons of Aloeus' wife by Poseidon. They tried to reach heaven to overthrow the gods by piling Mt. Ossa on Mt.
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a genus of birds of the order Strigiformes. Birds of the genus Otus have a partial facial disk and prominent “ears” (tufts of feathers on the sides of the head); the toes are unfeathered or have stiff bristles. The predominant coloring is rusty, brownish, or grayish with mottling, a coloring that camouflages the birds well when they are sitting in a tree.
Thirty-seven species are known. They are distributed in Europe, Asia (except the north), Africa, and the Americas (except the far north and south). Four species are found in the USSR. The scops owl (Otus scops) is found as far east as Lake Baikal and winters in Africa and southwestern Asia. It is 20 to 21 cm long and weighs about 80 g. The preferred habitat is broad-leaved forests, parks, and orchards. The nest is constructed in tree hollows, old magpie nests, and burrows and on cliff faces. A clutch contains two to five eggs. The female incubates the eggs; the incubation period is 24 to 25 days. The diet consists of insects and, less frequently, small birds and rodents. The Bruce’s scops owl (O. brucei) inhabits gallery forests and orchards in Middle Asia. The collared scops owl (O. bakkamoena) and oriental scops owl (O. sunia) is found in the extreme southeastern USSR.