Marsh Owl | Asio capensis

Roberts Birding Information: Marsh Owl

The Marsh Owl is a Southern African bird that belongs to the strigidae bird family group which includes birds such as Typical owls.

The description for the Marsh Owl (Latin name Asio capensis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Asio capensis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 395 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 263. You will find a picture of the Marsh Owl on page 272.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Marsh Owl between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Marsh Owl is known in Afrikaans as Vlei-uil.

The Marsh Owl has a height of 36 cms and weighs around 315 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured brown. The Asio capensis has a grey coloured throat, brown legs and a brown, black coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is brown.

Legs are brown.

Throat is grey.

Back is brown, black.

Marsh Owl Feeding Habits ...

The Asio capensis attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Marsh Owl uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Marsh Owl Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Marsh Owl is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 6 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest within a tree cavity just a few meters above the ground. The hole in the tree is normally reused in the next nesting season.

The Marsh Owl is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is found in the African bushveld.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Marsh Owl is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks.