Country owl | Exotic birds

Do you have a driving need to learn more about owls? Perhaps you would be interested in learning more about one of the most curious species of this family: the short-lived owl. You will surely be amazed.

Where do you live?

The country owl, known in some areas as the country owl, nape, or pajonal owl, is known by the scientific name of asio flammeus. It is one of the nocturnal raptors with the greatest activity during the day.

It inhabits all the continents of the planet, except Antarctica and Australia. They live in open areas, herbaceous areas that have not been worked, marshes, crops, heaths, and coastal marshes. Generally, whether they live in one area or another will depend on the prey.

Could you recognize it by looking at it?

It measures between 33-40 cm long, with the female being slightly larger than the male, a small identification that allows detecting sexual dimorphism in the species. Regarding its morphology, it is somewhat more stylized than other nocturnal birds of prey.

It is characterized by its small head, topped with small head plumes that decompose the silhouette of the bird and reflects its alertness. The expression of its species is very characteristic, highlighting the yellow eyes, framed by black spots that give it a slightly masked appearance. In the color of their feathers, brown and yellow tones predominate in the dorsal regions and the lower part.

In appearance, it is somewhat similar to the long-eared owl, but the truth is that this species has tufts on the upper part, although they are small and hidden, which the boy lacks. Also, the eye ring has a black stripe that marks each of his yellowish eyes. On the other hand, he is slimmer than the boy.

A total of 10 subspecies are recognized:

  • Asio flammeus bogotensis 
  • Asio flammeus domingensis 
  • Asio flammeus flammeus 
  • Asio flammeus galapagoensis 
  • Asio flammeus pallidicaudus 
  • Asio flammeus ponapensis 
  • Asio flammeus portoricensis
  • Asio flammeus sandwichensis 
  • Asio flammeus sanfordi 
  • Asio flammeus suinda 

The difference between each of the subspecies is found in a change in the color pattern and a minimal difference in size. In the case of the Asio flammeus sandwichensis, this is considered a very important bird in the mythology of Hawaii.

How is your life in freedom?

The reason it is known as a short-eared owl is that it nests and lives most of its life on the ground. When it comes to setting up its nest, which is a flattened, unlined area, it does so in grasslands and marshes. It can lay 4 to 8 eggs in each clutch. In some regions, it can make up to two broods per year. It has been detected that in years when rodents are abundant they can lay up to 14 eggs.

For about 37 days, the female is the one who incubates the eggs, each chick being born a day or two apart. Their young cannot leave the nest until they have reached four weeks, although they are not able to fly until five weeks. The male watches near the nest and brings food to the family. To outwit predators, the Short-eared Owl simulates a wing injury and then drives it away from the nest.

This species does not reach sexual maturity until they have reached one year of life. In the northern zone, the reproduction takes place between March and June, delaying at the beginning of April at most.

It is a much more diurnal bird than the rest of the owls, but it mainly hunts at night. His technique consists of a slow and very low flight, dropping silently on the prey. Sometimes it can keep an eye on the prey from a perch to wait for the perfect moment to attack it. It mainly feeds on rodents, but if these are scarce, it can consume other small mammals such as rabbits, reptiles, and some large insects. It could even feed on small birds.

It is a species capable of adapting to new environments with ease, but it has certain limits that it cannot bear. Due to the changes that its population has suffered due to the destruction of its habitat, it has been reduced by 3.5% in the last decade. In many areas where this bird lives there are strong conservation attempts, trying to prevent people from settling near the places where these owls live so that they are not forced to move to a new territory.

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