owl (Northern White-faced) / Ptilopsis leucotis

Did you know...

A group of owls is called a parliament or wisdom

Facial discs collect and concentrate sounds to the ears allowing them to locate and judge the distance to prey

Owls have 14 neck vertebrae, twice the number in humans; their long and flexible neck allows rotation of the head through 270 degrees

This medium sized owl, with its distinctive ear tufts and white facial markings, is found inhabiting dry woodland forest and acacia savannah in Northern and Central Africa south of the Sahara. They live singly or in pairs and are territorial often becoming aggressive when intruders near their nests.

Northern white-faced owls roost in trees during daylight, flying out at dusk to perch on lookout points from which they swoop down on any prey they locate. Like most small owl species they eat insects such as beetles, crickets, moths, spiders and scorpions. They also hunt small reptiles, birds and mammals. The prey is swallowed whole and the pellets are regurgitated at the roost.

The female white-faced owl lays her 2-3 eggs in a nest made in tree holes or the disused stick nests of larger birds. She incubates the eggs for about a month during which time her mate brings her food at the nest. From hatch to fledging is about 27 days and by 32 days the they can fly well. The adults continue to feed the chicks for some two weeks after fledging.

Listed as of Least Concern by IUCN the Northern white-faced owl is not considered to be threatened. Habitat loss and the effects of pesticides do how ever affect their future survival.