This beautiful Spotted Eagle Owl was spying on me while I was working in the garden. It looks like we have a pair that are breeding behind our house in the field. I think he was the male because his call was only two “Hoooo hooooooo’s”. I see a number of owls where we live and are not fussed by us. Our mice have suddenly disappeared since seeing them around. I found out that these owls nest and bred on the ground – so if you happen to see a baby owl, don’t touch them. They have not fallen from the nest – the nest is on the ground!! A little about these owls:
The Spotted Eagle-Owl (Bubo africanus) is a medium-sized species of owl, one of the smallest of the Eagle owls. The facial disk is off white to pale ochre and the eyes are yellow. It has prominent ear tufts, and the upper body is dusky brown, the lower parts off-white with brown bars.
Its prey consists of small mammals, birds, insects, frogs, and reptiles. The male will hunt and bring food when the female cannot leave the nest. An adult pair is typically very aggressive in defence of its hunting territory, and one obstacle for an adolescent to overcome is to find good feeding grounds where there are no incumbent adults to eject or kill it.
The calls are generally typical, musical Eagle-owl hoots. Generally the male call with two hoots: “Hooo hooopoooo” and the female answers with three, with less stress on the middle note: “Hooo hoo hooo”. The young do not hoot till effectively adult, but from a very young age they will hiss threateningly and snap their beaks castanet-like if alarmed.
As with all owls this species, when detected, is subject to daylight harassment by local birds. Spotted Eagle-Owls are regular bathers and during summer thunderstorms may be seen on treelimbs or on the ground with spread wings.
I love my neighbourhood birds!!! What strange birds visit your garden?
Happy gardening xxxx