búho / lechuza = owl?

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by :: dark_angel ::, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. :: dark_angel ::

    :: dark_angel :: Senior Member

    Andalucía, Spain
    Spain, Spanish
    Hi! I need to know: how do you say 'búho' in English, and how do you say 'lechuza'? I mean, I've always read 'owl'. Don't you have a way to distinguish them?

    For the English speakers who don't know the meaning of 'búho' and 'lechuza', here it goes: they're both the nocturnal birds of prey you know as 'owls', although the 'búho' is often bigger and brown, and the 'lechuza' is smaller and generally white (as Hedwig in Harry Potter :D).

    I need some way to distinguish them, 'cause they're both present in my text, so I need different words for both of them. I was about to try Wikipedia, but they're having tecnical problems (I'm always that timely, lol). Well, thanks a lot!
  2. KateNicole Senior Member

    Miami, Florida
    English (USA)
    Hi. According to diccionarios.com,
    búho real=eagle owl
    lechuza común=barn owl.
    I think to the typical English speaker who doesn't study birds, an owl is just an owl.
  3. :: dark_angel ::

    :: dark_angel :: Senior Member

    Andalucía, Spain
    Spain, Spanish
    Thanks! I think I'm surpised that English speakers don't distinguish eagle owls from barn owls when speaking because we Spanish speakers do distinguish them. Actually, we have no word that means either 'eagle owl' or 'barn owl', so it's just weird. It's as if you call 'wolf' a fox, I dunno. Well, that's it. Thanks a lot, you've been really helpful!
  4. KateNicole Senior Member

    Miami, Florida
    English (USA)
    Maybe my "owl terminology" is lacking. Hahahaha. I'm not sure, but I really can't think of a time in life when I heard someone in casual speech dinstinguish between different types of owls. One of the above that you were describing sounded to me like a hawk............but I'm sure that's not the word you were looking for. Maybe someone else out there can enlighten the both of us.
  5. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    I'm surpised that English speakers don't distinguish eagle owls from barn owls when speaking because we Spanish speakers do distinguish them.

    It's always a curiosity when you find gaps or whatever you want to call them, between two languages.

    I've always been mystified that Spanish has "conciencia" for the two English words, "conscience" and "consciousness." They mean very different things ...
  6. :: dark_angel ::

    :: dark_angel :: Senior Member

    Andalucía, Spain
    Spain, Spanish
    lol. No, I actually think most American don't distinguish them simply because you use the same words for both of them. You were right to think I wasn't referring to a 'hawk', by the way. Eagle owls are the biggest nocturnal birds of prey (or so I think), and they're quite like barn owl (from what I know) but for the color, since they're brown instead of white. Dunno, maybe you don't have them there in the States, I'll search wikipedia later.

    Arghh!! I was about to post you the URL to an eagle owl pic, but it appears that "you are only allowed to post URLs to other sites after you have made 30 posts or more". Well, anyway, if you go to "google, images" and type 'búho', the third one is an eagle owl.
  7. :: dark_angel ::

    :: dark_angel :: Senior Member

    Andalucía, Spain
    Spain, Spanish
    lol, funny you mention it, 'cause there is difference between them in Spanish too. We translate 'conscience' as 'conciencia' and 'consciousness' as 'consciencia', although many people (even Spanish people) gets confused. Maybe that's the reason why you thought there's no difference. On the contrary, we make no difference with 'consciente' (the adjetive) although I think you don't either?
  8. COLsass

    COLsass Senior Member

    How about tecolote which is used at least in parts of Northern Mexico for owl. Is that a different type of owl? I always imagined it as a barn owl (lechuza).

    What about how English has doves and pigeons and you just got yourselves those "palomas" for both of them (though palomas blancas for doves if you want to insist)?

    That's why it's fun to learn new languages because you expand your mind and get to be amazed by what's important in one language and completely unimportant in another.
  9. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    I´ve never seen/read/noticed the "s" there! Imagine ... thanks for pointing it out.

    By the way, we do have barn owls in the US, and they live in trees as well as barns ;>) I've never heard of an eagle owl, and always supposed a "lechuza" was simply some smaller species of owl ... I guess I never had a need to know the difference between them ...

    As to "conscience", "consciousness" and their adjetives, if we really have one for the former, it would have to be "conscientious"-- and I suspect it may have once meant "having a well-developed sense of a conscience", although nowadays I think it´s limited to "taking great care and detail with" an activity. For the latter, "conscious", "aware".

    "Conscientious" also has its noun, "conscientiousness" (ya empiezan a trabarme la lenga), and it would be the 3rd entry in the DRAE under:

    concienzudo, da.1. adj. Dicho de una persona: Que es de estrecha y recta conciencia.2. adj. Dicho de una cosa: Que se hace según ella.3. adj. Dicho de una persona: Que estudia o hace las cosas con mucha atención o detenimiento.
  10. jacinta Senior Member

    USA English
  11. :: dark_angel ::

    :: dark_angel :: Senior Member

    Andalucía, Spain
    Spain, Spanish
    I've always thought 'doves' and 'pigeons' were the same. What's the difference? I've never heard of 'tecolotes', by the way :)


    Ohh, you're so right, I didn't remember 'conscientious'. Yeah, then we have an equivalent word in Spanish for that ('concienzudo', as you've just pointed). I was thinking more about 'conscious' for both of them, but know I realize you're right. And about the 's' in 'consciencia', maybe you haven't notice because people use to get confused and write it wrong (as some English speakers who write 'your' instead of 'you're', and vice versa).



    See? I knew I wasn't the only one! I've always found funny to name the lechuzas and the búhos with the same word, but then, as COLsass have pointed, I don't know the difference between pigeons and doves, so... :)
  12. COLsass

    COLsass Senior Member

    Pigeons are ugly city birds and doves are the pretty white birds that represent peace. Most English speakers wouldn't even think to put them in the same SPECIES of bird. Hehe. To us they're as different as night and day. No one likes a pigeon and everyone likes a dove.

    Pretty cool, huh? I'll always call my friend the "owl" by the right name now. :)
  13. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    I like pigeons ;)
  14. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    búho chico (Asio otus) Cl.: aves. O.: estrigiformes. Mide 36 cm. de long. Posee largas "orejas". La parte superior del cuerpo es de color ocre y pardo grisáceo, la inferior es ocre listada de oscuro. Caza de noche, sobre todo ratones. Vive en los bosques de coníferas. D.: Europa, Asia central, norte de Africa y Norteamerica.

    Búho nival (Nyctea scandica) Cl.: aves. O.: estrigiformes. Mide hasta 66 cm de long. Su plumaje es completamente blanco con algunas manchas oscuras. Tiene costumbres solitarias y diurnas. Se alimenta de aves y mamíferos. Nidifica en el suelo. D.: región árctica.

    Búho real (Bubo bubo) Cl.: aves. O.: estrigiformes. Mide hasta 70 cm. de long., es el mayor búho de Europa. La parte superior del cuerpo es de color leonado con motas oscuras, la inferior es más clara; los ojos son de color naranja. Las "orejas" son grandes. Caza al amanecer y al atardecer; se alimenta de roedores y grandes presas (liebres, aves ...), nidifica entre rocas y en árboles. En la actualidad (1980) su supervivencia está en peligro. D.: Eurasia y norte de Africa
  15. :: dark_angel ::

    :: dark_angel :: Senior Member

    Andalucía, Spain
    Spain, Spanish
    Oh, well, I was about to say "poor pigeons" after reading COLsass declaration of eternal hate for them, but as you like them, I guess that's fine :p.

    COLsass, do you know if they're from the same family? (I just tried wikipedia again, but it's still not working) I'm asking because I typed 'pigeon' at "google, images" and saw what seemed to be some doves, and then tried 'dove' and some of them were grey. I don't know, I think they're quite the same but for the color. I've even seen white pigeons (or doves) in cities, so... I dunno, I'm confused, though maybe that's because it's 1am here in Spain :D. I'll try later at wikipedia so we can all learn more about our friends pigeons! :). Who would've thought a linguistic discussion could turn to ornithology this fast? lol
  16. :: dark_angel ::

    :: dark_angel :: Senior Member

    Andalucía, Spain
    Spain, Spanish
    after some short research, I've been brought to the conclusion that doves are a subtype of pigeons. aaaaand... if you type 'pigeon' at google the first entry is from the 'national pigeon association' (lol), and if you watch the presentation there are some birds that really resemble doves (and there are some funny birds too, but that doesn't count :p). [I do not post the URL here because I'm not allowed to do it till I reach 30 posts]
  17. :: dark_angel ::

    :: dark_angel :: Senior Member

    Andalucía, Spain
    Spain, Spanish
    oh! I've just reached 30! That's it: http://www.npausa.com/

    wahahahaha! (sorry, I'm sleepy, and therefore crazy :D)
  18. COLsass

    COLsass Senior Member

    congratulations! You're at 30. Yeah, I was going to say that: doves are a in the pigeon family (genus even?).

    So when Txiri says s/he likes pigeons s/he probably just means s/he likes doves, the pretty subtype.
  19. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    lechuza campestre (Asio flammeus) Cl.: aves. O.: estrigiformes. Mide 38 cm de long. El plumaje es de color leonado claro con la parte inferior listada. Se alimenta sobre todo de ratones. D.: cosmopolita

    lechuza común (Tito alba) Cl.: aves. O.: estrigiformes.
    Mide 34 cm de long. Posee un bello plumaje de color dorado claro con pequeñas manchas en la parte superior, la cara y la parte inferior del cuerpo son blancas. El disco facial tiene forma de corazón. Las patas presentan plumas hasta los dedos. Los ojos son de color negro. Caza, generalmente, de noche, sobre todo roedores. Tiene costumbres sedentarias y prefiere los sitios habitados. D.: cosmopolita

    lechuza de las madrigueras V. curuja

    lechuza gavilana (Surnia ulula) Cl.: aves. O.: estrigiformes. Mide hasta 40 cm de long. Tiene el plumaje de color pardo oscuro con manchas blancas en el dorso; la parte ventral es blanca con líneas oscuras; la cara es también blanca bordeada de negro. Presenta costumbres diurnas. Se denomina así porque en vuelo se parece al gavilán. Vive en bosques de coníferas o abedules. D.: Eurasia septentrional y Norteamérica

    I think you can probably google the scientific names and find out if there is actually a distinction made in other languages between búho - lechuza The other approach would be to look up the etymologies ...

    Ahora voy a llevar a pasear a mi perro collie ;>)
  20. KateNicole Senior Member

    Miami, Florida
    English (USA)
    I'm confused............hast the proper way to distinguish between the two in English been decided upon yet in this thread?
  21. Jhorer Brishti Senior Member

    United States/Bangladesh English/Bengali
    Pensaba que tal vez te refirieras a los "Snowy Owls" pero ya me acuerdo de que son grandes y habitan todas las regiones del polo norte(así que el clima caliente no les atrae para nada).

    Puede ser que se distingan las dos especies de aves nocturnas(quiero mucho decir búho en vez de esta oración larga!) en español porque son más comunes en países hispanos(supongo que sólo en España). ¿Se distinguen las dos variedades en países latinoamericanos también?
    Fíjense en esta definición que encontré en la página del RAE:

    Doves and pigeons are in the same genus. The larger species are generally called pigeons while the smaller(/graceful?) ones are dubbed Doves. Also, COLsass, the little old ladies who feed the pigeons all day both in NYC and London(and countless other cities), would be greatly offended by your words! Personally, I like pigeons but they're reputed to be rampant, smelly, noisy disease-carriers, particularly in NYC but again many people seem to think the same of all inhabitants(both human and animal) of the Big Apple.
  22. :: dark_angel ::

    :: dark_angel :: Senior Member

    Andalucía, Spain
    Spain, Spanish
    Thanks! :D It was kinda boring having to explain people how to reach the sites instead of just posting the URL.

    Yeah, yeah, you only say that because you don't wanna admit people like pigeons (lol).

    Well, anyway, I've had enough pigeons for one day. I'm going to sleep. But tomorrow I will continue my research! (I'm planing to write a treatise about pigeons :p). Well, that was fun! Night everybody!
  23. COLsass

    COLsass Senior Member

    I learned to hate them in Santiago, Chile when they hobbled around on one foot, reeked of sewage, were molting rotten feathers, and climbing all over my legs. Gross.
  24. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    Nah, I like 'em all cucurrucu
  25. Jhorer Brishti Senior Member

    United States/Bangladesh English/Bengali
    At first I thought you were alluding to the little old ladies!:eek:

    They're very urbanized birds so it's a wonder why they still don't seem to have figured out yet how to resolve these very urban problems.. and thus ingratiate themselves with immaculately civilized humans..
  26. Hidrocálida

    Hidrocálida Senior Member

  27. :: dark_angel ::

    :: dark_angel :: Senior Member

    Andalucía, Spain
    Spain, Spanish
    We're all confused, KateNicole :D. Anyway, according to wikipedia (finally working again!) "Owls are classified in two families: the typical owls, Strigidae, and the barn owls, Tytonidae". Personally, I like better the term 'horned owls' instead of 'typical owls' for naming búhos. The term is accepted as an alternative for 'typical owls' and allows to the horns/ears-like feathers they have at both sides of the head. As for barn owls (lechuzas), it seems that they're not necessary white, but they're easily distinguished from horned owls thanks to the shape of their head, more rounded than that of horned owls. Here's the link, if you want to know more:


    Well, I hope that cleared things up! Bye!
  28. CÁTARO New Member

    Maybe txiri likes cuculíes.
  29. urbangazelle New Member

    I had never heard of the term "eagle owl" until your post. The pictures that an image search returns for "eagle owl" are what an American from New England would typically call a "horned owl" (because the tufts of feathers on the head look like horns.) So at least for American English speakers in the Northeast, we do distinguish between barn and horned owls.
  30. billfalls

    billfalls Member

    San Francisco, CA
    English - U.S.
    Reviving this topic, five years later, since I didn't find a clear answer here.

    Looking at the Wikipedia articles on búho and lechuza, it appears that the two words don't correspond to taxonomic categories. Both are members of the same family (Strigidae), and both may refer to multiple species depending on local usage. According to the lechuza article at http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lechuza, the general pattern is to use búho for species that have tufts of feathers resembling ears and lechuza for species like barn owls that lack these "ears," such as barn owls.

    I grew up in farm country knowing the appearance and calls of a number of common species of owls (barn owl, screech owl, snowy owl, etc.) but the generic name "owl" was also useful, just as "wolf" refers to timber wolves, gray wolves, and many other species of wolf (which do not include foxes!).

    Txiri is right - it's pointless to claim superiority for one language because it uses two terms where another language uses one. There are likely to be as many instances where the reverse is the case - for example, butterflies and moths in English, both of which are mariposa in Spanish. Again, the distinction is based on appearance and behavior and has no taxonomic basis.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
  31. Csalrais

    Csalrais Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    Hasta donde sé, eso no es así, moth es polilla (al menos para mi siempre ha ido así)

  32. billfalls

    billfalls Member

    San Francisco, CA
    English - U.S.
    Sí, en el contexto del daño que hacen en casa, pero el mismo artículo que citas las describe como "diversas mariposas pequeñas y nocturnas..."

    El punto significativo es que no hay correspondencia exacta entre el vocabulario de un idioma y el de otro. Es un fenómeno natural y no indica que un idioma sea superior a otro.
  33. RicardoValero95 New Member

    So the order:
    Strigiformes refer to owls

    And the families:
    Strigidae (true or typical owls) refer to búhos
    Tytonidae (barn owls) refer to lechuzas

    I find their faces very different.

    My question is:
    Are their "ears" a characteristic used to differentiate the families?
  34. cafemiss

    cafemiss New Member

    California USA
    English - USA
    The typical English speaker will call both búho and lechuza "owl." When there is a need for distinction we will say owl for the big one and barn owl for the small one. Sometimes if we want to emphasize the large owl, we will say horned owl.

    This is the typical, non-scientific English usage.
  35. Amapolas

    Amapolas Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Castellano rioplatense
    I could have sworn the barn owl was one of the larger kind. There are so many types of owls I find it hard to remember.
    Gracias por de-sasnarme. :)
  36. {:) Member

    Castellón, Spain
    English (GB), Spanish (Spain)
    I've looked at 18 species of owl. In Spanish, 16 of them are called búho, the barn owl is called lechuza, and the tawny owl is called cárabo.

    ;-) Happy researching

    Moderator's note
    Only Spanish and English may be used in this forum.
    Thank you
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2016

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