The Laughing Owl (Sceloglaux albifacies), also known as Whēkau or the White-faced Owl, was an endemic owl found in New Zealand, but is now extinct. It was plentiful when European settlers arrived in New Zealand in 1840. Specimens were sent to the British Museum, where a scientific description was published in 1845. The species belongs to the monotypic genus Sceloglaux ("scoundrel owl", probably because of the mischievous-sounding calls).
The Laughing Owl's plumage was yellowish-brown striped with dark brown. There were white straps on the scapulars, and occasionally the hind neck. Mantle feathers were edged with white. The wings and tail had light brown bars. The tarsus had yellowish to reddish-buff feathers. The facial disc was white behind and below the eyes, fading to grey with brown stripes towards the centre. Some birds were more rufous, with a brown facial disk; this was at first attributed to subspecific differences, but is probably better related to individual variation. There are indications that males were more often of the richly colored morph (e.g. the Linz specimen OÖLM 1941/433). The eyes were very dark orange. Its length was 35.5-40 cm (14-15.7") and wing length...