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African Scops-Owl | Otus senegalensis

The African Scops-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 African Scops-Owl (Latin name Otus senegalensis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Otus senegalensis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 396 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 253. You will find a picture of the African Scops-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.

This bird is known as African Scops Owl in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the African Scops-Owl between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The African Scops-Owl is known in Afrikaans as Skopsuil.

The African Scops-Owl has a height of 18 cms and weighs around 65 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured black. The Otus senegalensis has a white coloured throat, brown legs and a grey coloured back. The eyes are yellow.

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 yellow

Bill is black

Legs are brown

Throat is white

Back is grey

Feeding Habits ...

The Otus senegalensis 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 African Scops-Owl uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The African Scops-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 4 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 bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

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

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The African Scops-Owl is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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