Hoot, as we affectionately named him, is a Spotted Eagle Owl.
After accidentally headbutting a cement wall and landing in a swimming pool, he was a little worse for wear. It was suspected he had a broken wing and he was kept for observation and care for a few days.
These owls are beautiful nocturnal hunters who commonly reside around Lake Tanganyika and Zambia as a whole. Although beautiful to us, these birds are commonly killed by local Zambians as they are perceived to be used for witchcraft. Their bright yellow eyes do seem to pierce through you and with an expression of ever watching malevolence.
It is considered here that if an owl resides near your house or in your village that bad luck will follow. So they are quickly dispatched with handmade weapons such as catapults or rocks.
Hopefully Hoot will live a long and healthy life ….as long as he avoids civilisation.
So in his honour I thought I would just give you a little information on the Spotted Eagle Owl:
Spotted Eagle Owl is a medium to large owl with prominent ear tufts. The upper-parts of the body are dusky brown with pale spots, the under-parts are whitish and finely barred. The facial disc is whitish to pale ochre and the eyes are yellow. Its height is 45cm and its weight is from 480 to 850g. The wingspan is 33cm.
The spotted eagle owl spends most of the day concealed in trees, rock ledges or abandoned burrows.
Name: Bubo aficanus
Size: 45cm, 480-850g
Habitat: Savannah, rocky outcrops, scrub, open and semi-open woodland, semi-deserts.
Distribution: Sub-equatorial Africa from Kenya and Uganda south to the Cape
Diet: Invertebrates, small mammals, birds and reptiles
Reproduction: July-February, 2-4 eggs laid in scrape on the ground, normally sheltered by a bush, grass or rocks. Incubation 32 days. Young leave the nest by about 5 weeks and are fledged by 7 weeks, but remain with parents for at least another 5 weeks.
Call: Song is normally 1 or 2 “double hoots”, followed by a 3 syllable hoot and then 1 long drawn out hoot hoo-hoo buhoohoo-hooo.
Hoot has since been pronounced healthy and was released today. And admit it, you’re also trying to say the call out loud and sounding silly aren’t you?