Are you thinking of visiting Africa to see some peculiar animals of its fauna? Because if so, you would do well to write down this information about the Moorish Owl, so that you do not miss it if you have it nearby.
What is its habitat?
The Moorish Owl, known by the scientific name Asio capensis, is a member of the Strigidae family and lives in Africa. It spreads mainly through sub-Saharan Africa, but it can also be seen in northern Morocco, which is the reason for its common name.
Some isolated populations can be found in the interior of Madagascar. It lives in swamps or wet pastures with tall grass, presenting a varied and opportunistic diet.
And what does it look like?
It could be said that it is a medium-sized bird since it measures between 35-37 cm. It seems that the females are slightly larger than the males, so it would be a sign of sexual dimorphism within their species.
In appearance, it is similar to the wild owl, with which it could be confused, but it is larger. The color of its feathers is brown, without streaking, while the lower parts are whitish with brown stripes. The best way to distinguish it from its relative is by the uniformity of the brown color on the upper part, as the short-eared owl has a dense dark streak.
It has a marked facial disc, with yellow eyes with black irises and tufts that look like short ears, which are not usually visible unless they are standing on end. Its wings are long, but it usually flies slowly and silently to try to catch its prey by surprise.
Anything else we can tell you about this bird?
The truth is that it is normal to see it perched on the ground or low posts, a custom it shares with the short-eared owl. When hunting, he prefers to do it in the open field. Interestingly, despite being an owl, it does not have nocturnal hunting habits, but rather during the day.
Its diet is composed mainly of insects, but it can also be seen hunting other animals, such as small mammals. Rodents and birds are usually part of their diet when they do not find an insect.
It nests on the ground, in clear humid areas, in which the female lays two to four eggs hidden among the vegetation so that they are not detected by predators. This incubates them for a month, and then the male is in charge of going in search of food while the female is in charge of watching over the chicks. Very rarely it is the other way around. Once they are one and a half months old, the chicks leave the nest and begin their own life.
Although specimens have been detected in Morocco, it is believed that there are currently around 140 breeding pairs in the country. In Spain, there was the case of a specimen in Cádiz, in 1998 when a specimen was found that had been wounded by a gunshot. After its recovery, it was returned to its habitat.
They do not have a long enough life expectancy, living about 10 – 12 years in freedom. Since it is not a common species as a pet, there is not much information about its care.
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