Mantanani Scops Owls
Distribution / Habitat / Status
The Mantanani Scops Owls occur naturally in
- Malaysia: on several small islands between the state of Sabah in northern Borneo (including the Mantanani group for which this species has been named); and
- central Philippines; and the Philippines island of Palawan, including Calamien, Rasa and Ursula, as well as islands in the Sulu Archipelago
Their preferred habitats are coconut groves and other wooded areas, where they are locally common. However, this species is classified as "Near Threatened" (since 2004) due to their very small natural range, and small and fragmented populations which appear to be declining due to disturbed and degraded forest habitats.
BirdLife estimates that only about 10,000 - 20,000 of them have survived over their entire range and only about 100 of them are found on Mantanani Island.
Subspecies and Ranges:
- Mantanani Scops Owl (Otus mantananensis mantananensis - Sharpe, 1892) - Nominate Form
- Range: Mantanani Islands off the north-west coast of the state of Sabah in Malaysia in northern Borneo; and the islands of the southern coast of Palawan.
- Otus mantananensis romblonis (McGregor, 1905)
- Range: (Central) Philippine islands of Banton, Sibuyan, Romblon, Tablas, Tres Reyes and Semirara
- Otus mantananensis cuyensis (McGregor, 1904)
- Range: Islands of Dicabaito, Linapacan (southern Calamian group of islands) and Cuyo Islands in the Philippine province of Palawan
- Sulu Scops Owl (Otus mantananensis sibutuensis - Sharpe, 1893)
- Range: The islands of Sibutu and Tumindao located in southwestern Sulu Islands in the southwestern Philippines.
The Mantanani Scops Owls measure, on average, 7.1 inches or 180 mm in length (including the tail). The average wing is about 6.1 inches or 155 mm long.
The upper plumage is dark brown with pale markings on the scapulars (shoulder feathers). The plumage below is paler with dark streaks and barring. They have buff facial disks with narrow, dark borders. The bill and feet are grey and the lower legs are feathered.
Their yellow, forward-facing eyes are nearly as large as human eyes and are immobile within their circular bone sockets. For this reason, owls need flexible necks, as they have to turn the entire head to change views. They have the same number of vertebrae in their necks as most mammals and can move their heads 270 degrees in either direction (nearly all the way around!). Most other bird species have their eyes on the sides of their heads enabling them to see sideways and, to some extent, backwards. Owls, on the other hand, have both eyes in the front which enhances their depth perception.
Owls are unable to clearly see anything within a few inches of their eyes. On the other hand, their far vision - particularly in low light conditions - is incredibly good. The color of the eyes tells us a lot about their habits; those with dark brown or black eyes are nocturnal hunters; those with yellow eyes mostly hunt during the day, and those with orange eyes hunt at night and during the day.
To protect their eyes, Owls have 3 eyelids: one upper and one lower eyelid, and a nictitating membrane. The upper lid closes when the owl blinks, and the lower closes when the Owl sleeps. The third eyelid, the nictitating membrane, is a thin layer of tissue that closes diagonally across the eye, from the inside to the outside. The purpose of these membranes is to clean, moisten and protect the surface of the eyes.
Diet / Feeding
They mostly feed on insects, hunting at the forest edge or in clearings.
Breeding / Nesting
Mantanani Scops Owls are believed to breed from March to May. Their eggs are deposited in the cavities of trees.
Calls / Vocalizations / Sounds
Their vocalizations consist of simple waa and a goose-like honks; during territorial disputes with a descending series of short wa's.
Alternate (Global) Names
Chinese: 南菲律宾角鸮 ... Czech: Výrecek jihofilipínský, výreček jihofilipínský ... Danish: Mantanani-dværghornugle ... Estonian: kookosepäll ... Finnish: Filippiinienkyläpöllönen ... French: Petit-duc de Mantanani ... German: Mantananieule, Philippinen-Zwergohre, Philippinen-Zwergohreule ... Italian: Assiolo delle Filippine meridionali, Assiolo di Mantanani ... Japanese: boruneokonohazuku ... Malay: Hantu Mantanani ... Dutch: Mantanandwergooruil, Mantanan-dwergooruil, Mantananidwergooruil ... Norwegian: Suluugle ... Polish: syczek rafowy ... Russian: Совка с острова Мантанани, Сулавесийская совка ... Slovak: výrik kokosový ... Spanish: Autillo de la Mantanani, Autillo Malayo Sureño, Autillo Moluqueño ... Swedish: Mantananidvärguv
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