Hoo Hoo Twoo (34)
|Hoo Hoo Twoo - meaning my second owl post. |
Boy was I glad to catch this little Pearl-spotted Owl (17 - 21 cm in size) in my neighbor’s garden. This was taken after dark and I am excited about the result.
In South Africa, extends across Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and s Moçambique, south to limit of arid bushveld and woodland in s Namibia, n South Africa and e Swaziland. Extends further north across most savannas of sub-Saharan Africa.
Population and demography
Nests may be only 200-500m apart or, in contiguous suitable habitat, may be about 0.5-1km apart within a territory of about 60ha. However, limited by available nest holes in lightly wooded habitat, relying on hole-making birds (barbets, woodpeckers) to supply suitable cavities, that are often excavated in introduced exotic plants. Age of first breeding, survivorship and longevity unknown.
Widespread and the commonest owl in a wide range of woodland and bushveld habitats, especially mopane and open thorn savanna with areas of sparse ground cover. Avoids dense woodland and forest, or open grass- and scrubland.
Often active by day, and so most conspicuous South African owl, but mainly active at night both for hunting and calling. Roosts in relatively open sites below canopy of small bushes or shrubs, staring intently at intruders and readily changing perches if disturbed. Bathes regularly by day (and probably by night) when open water is available.
Foraging and food
Hunts from a low perch, taking most prey from the ground below but sometimes swooping to snatch it from on foliage, off nests or in flight. Flight is fast and dipping, with audible wingbeats, similar to a woodpecker. Often mobbed by small birds when emerges by day, and its calls, or mimicry thereof, actively attract small birds, and then sometimes snatches one from the surrounding flock. Often flicks or wags tail when excited while hunting, and turns head abruptly to show first real then false ‘face’, or bobs head up and down. Eats mainly arthropods (especially grasshoppers, crickets, solifugids, beetles, harvester termites and termite alates), but has relatively large strong feet and is a bold hunter of small vertebrates (rodents, bats, lizards, snakes, frogs, birds to size of Turtle Dove).
Wide distribution, natural abundance and varied habitats suggest few conservation concerns. Common in Kruger and Kgalagadi National Parks. Removal of trees with nest cavities would be detrimental, but some land use to introduce exotic trees or reduce ground cover can be beneficial.
The camera settings:
Focal Length: 271mm
F Stop: F/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/60
Reflective Panel: No
Cable release: No