Barn owls are mistaken for aliens in IndiaYoutube/screenshot

A video of three birds at a construction in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, has gone viral after the locals captured them on camera thinking they were aliens. The birds were found standing on their legs and looked different due to lack of feathers.

The video created a buzz on social media, with netizens calling the birds with a wide-eyed and shocked look aliens. However, Nehru Zoological park officials have clarified that the birds are eastern barn owls.

"They are beautiful birds distributed downwards from central India. Their heart-shaped faces and downward beaks are characteristic of the species," Deccan Chronicle quoted curator Shivani Dongre as saying.

"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 -- two in front and one behind them -- looked malnourished and lacked feathers. Veterinary doctors said the birds could be just chicks and might need medical attention.

"They can be young chicks waiting for their mother to bring back food, which is why they were standing on their legs. At the same time, because they were on a construction site, it could be that they got some skin infection that causes the feathers to fall off," Dr Narasimha Reddy, a veterinarian, told the publication.

Eastern barn owls, also known as Tyto javanica, are generally found on the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Australia, and many Pacific Islands. The barn owl is a protected species under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and their hunting and trading is banned.