Birds with spooky eyes mistaken for aliens in India

Birds with spooky eyes mistaken for aliens in India
A video shared by Indian builders of so-called aliens turned out to be startled barn owls.

The feathery predators were filmed on a construction site in Visakhapatnam, capital of the south-eastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

The builders who filmed them can be heard talking excitedly as two of the three owls stare at them with large dark eyes.

The birds are adolescents, just moving from being chicks into adulthood.

Because of this they are skinny and lack their adult plumage, giving them an otherworldly appearance.

Netizens who saw the footage dubbed the strange-looking creatures aliens as they look so odd and are standing upright.

But curator of the Nehru Zoological Park Shivani Dongre explained to Indian media: 'They are a beautiful species which are distributed southwards from central India.

'Their heart-shaped faces and downward beaks are characteristics of the species. When birds get attention, they tend to be observant in behaviour, which is probably why the birds look alarmed.

'As it was a construction site, the birds were on a flat surface. If they had a surface to grip on, we could have seen them perch.'

The birds in the video are thought to be eastern barn owls (Tyto javanica), a species closely related to the western barn owls (Tyto Alba) often seen in Britain and the rest of Europe.

Barn owls are a protected species under Indian law and they are thought to have been removed safely from the building site.