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African Grass-Owl | Tyto capensis

The African Grass-Owl is a Southern African bird that belongs to the tytonidae bird family group which includes birds such as Barn owls, Grass owls.

The description for the African Grass-Owl (Latin name Tyto capensis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Tyto capensis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 393 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 252. You will find a picture of the African Grass-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 Grass Owl in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the African Grass-Owl between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The African Grass-Owl is known in Afrikaans as Grasuil.

The African Grass-Owl has a height of 37 cms and weighs around 420 gms. The head is coloured olive while the bill is coloured white. The Tyto capensis has a white coloured throat, grey legs and a grey 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 olive

Eyes are brown

Bill is white

Legs are grey

Throat is white

Back is grey

Feeding Habits ...

The Tyto 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 African Grass-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 .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The African Grass-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 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

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

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

It is also seen in flocks

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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