Palawan Scops Owls
The Palawan Scops Owls (Otus fuliginosus) are rare owls that occur naturally in southwestern Philippines - specifically on Palawan Island and adjacent islands of Alabagin and Balabac, with an unconfirmed report from Calauit.
On the island of Palawan, populations have been recorded in Kinalaykayan and Dicabaitot, Saint Paul's Subterranean River National Park, Cleopatra's Needle, Buenavista, Iwahig Penal Colony, vicinity of Puerto Princesa, Quezon at Tabon, Singnapan at Kabasakan, Pinikpikan and Tining-luan, Taguso, Mount Mantalingajan at Pinigisan and Tigwayan, Batarasa.
They are believed to be sedentary and are mostly found in lowland forests, but are believed to be able to adapt to human-modified habitats, as long as trees are present. Their numbers are declining due to conversion of their forest habitats for agricultural purposes and residential expansions. Therefore, this species is classified as "Near Threatened."
The Palawan Scops Owls are relatively small, measuring 7.5 - 7.8 inches (19 - 20 cm) in length (including the tail). The upper plumage is dark red-brown with black wave patterns. The facial disk is light rufous. There is a pale collar on the back of the neck, dark below with buff spotting. The bill is horn-colored and the feet greyish-yellow.
Their orange-brown, 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.
Alternate (Global) Names
Chinese: 巴拉望角鸮 ... Czech: Výrecek palawanský, výreček palawanský ... Danish: Palawandværghornugle ... Dutch: Palawandwergooruil, Palawan-dwergooruil ... Estonian: palawani päll ... Finnish: Palawaninpöllönen ... French: Petit-duc de Palawan ... German: Palawaneule, Palawan-Halsbandeule, Palawan-Zwergohreule ... Italian: Assiolo di Palawan ... Japanese: parawanookonohazuku ... Norwegian: Palawanugle ... Polish: syczek palawanski, syczek palawański ... Russian: Палаванская совка, Совка Палаван ... Slovak: výrik palawanský ... Spanish: Autillo de Palawa, Autillo de Palawan ... Swedish: Palawandvärguv
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