Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Northern white-faced owl

Ptilopsis leucotis

(Photo from Blogodisea)

Common name:
northern white-faced owl (en); mocho-de-faces-brancas-nortenho (pt); petit-duc à face blanche du nord (fr); autillo cariblanco norteño (es); nordbüscheleule (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae

Range:
This African species is found along the Sahel belt, south of the Sahara desert, from Senegal, Guinea and Sierra Leone in the west to Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia in the east.

Size:
These birds are 24-25 cm long and weigh 185-220 g.

Habitat:
The northern white-faced owl is found in dry savannas, riverine woodlands, scrublands and sometimes also in deserts and even within urban areas.

Diet:
They feed on invertebrates such as moths, crickets, beetles, scorpions, and spiders, as well as small vertebrates such as reptiles, birds and mammals, especially rodents and shrews.

Breeding:
Northern white-faced owls breed in May-November. They nest in natural holes or hollows and crevices in old trees, or old stick nests of larger birds in scrubs or trees, 2-8 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-4 shiny white eggs, which she incubates alone for 29-31 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 27-32 days after hatching, but continue to receive food from the parents for another 2 weeks.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally common to uncommon. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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