Mindanao Scops Owls
The Mindanao Scops Owls (Otus mirus) are endemic to the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, where records of them only exist from four sites: Mount Hilong-hilong, Mount Apo, Mount Kitanglad and Lake Sebu, where they are restricted to high-elevation montane forests. They are presumed to be sedentary (non-migratory).
These small, forest-dwelling owls are mostly active at dusk and during the night, and are believed to spend the days roosting on branches where they are well concealed by their heavily patterned plumage.
The Latin name was derived from the unusual, bold markings on their plumage, and their common name from their locality.
Mindanao Scops Owls appear to be rare throughout their range and their numbers are suspected to be declining due to ongoing habitat destruction. This species is, therefore, classified as Near Threatened.
The Mindanao Scops Owls are relatively small, measuring only 7.5 - 7.8 inches (19 - 20 cm) in length (including the tail).
The upper plumage is greyish-brown and heavily marked with blackish streaks and blotches. The plumage below is whitish interlaced with a crisscrossed pattern of fine and heavy black lines.
There is a row of white spots on the back of the neck forming a half-collar; and a couple of white lines on the shoulders.
The small ear tufts are whitish in color. The bill is greenish-grey.
Their brownish-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
Their primary diet consists of insects, although they are likely to also take small mammals, earth worms, and other small animal prey found in their environment.
Calls / Vocalizations
Their calls consist of two soft double notes that are said to resemble those of pigeons or doves.
Alternate (Global) Names
Chinese: 棉兰角鸮 ... Czech: Výrecek mindanajský, výreček mindanajský ... Danish: Mindanaodværghornugle ... Dutch: Mindanaodwergooruil, Mindanao-dwergooruil ... Estonian: mindanao päll ... Finnish: Mindanaonpöllönen ... French: Petit-duc de Mindanao, Petit-duc montagnard ... German: Mindanaoeule, Mindanao-Ohreule, Mindanao-Zwergohreule, Rotohreule ... Italian: Assiolo di Mindanao ... Japanese: mindanaokonohazuku ... Norwegian: Mindanaougle ... Polish: syczek osobliwy, Syczek wielki ... Russian: Минданская совка, Совка с острова Минданао ... Slovak: výrik mindanajský ... Spanish: Autillo de Mindanao ... Swedish: Mindanaodvärguv
Other (Global) Names
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