The genus Tyto includes all barn-owls (family Tytonidae) except for the bay-owls (subfamily Phodilinae, genus Phodilus) – that is, the true barn-owls, the grass-owls and the masked-owls collectively making up the subfamily Tytoninae. They are darker on the back than the front, usually an orange-brown colour, the front being a paler version of the back or mottled, although there is considerable variation even amongst species. Tyto owls have a divided, heart-shaped facial disc, and lack the ear-like tufts of feathers found in many other owls. Tyto owls tend to be larger than Bay-owls.
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Tyto manusi is known only from two specimens from Manus in the Admiralty Islands of Papua New Guinea. Recent surveys have failed to locate this species and there are few if any convincing reports from local villagers. Tyto owls known only from subfossil bones on the adjacent islands of Mussau and New Ireland appear to have become extinct through unknown causes. As with other Tyto owls, it may have been overlooked, but with further visits to Manus by birdwatchers and a continuing lack of records, its population may be smaller than 1000 individuals.