Some raptors can be very scary because they look so imposing. This is the case of the western owl, one of the best-known species and also one of the most imposing.
Would you dare to go see it?
This species is a nocturnal bird of prey that is native to Central and North America, belonging to the genus Megacops of the family Strigidae. Its scientific name is megacops kennicottii, a name given in honor of the American ornithologist Robert Kennicott.
This species is native to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Its habitat is found in subtropical and tropical temperate forests, deserts, scrublands, rural gardens, and in some suburban parks and gardens.
So much does it impose?
It is a medium-sized bird that reaches 22 cm in length and weighs 150 grams. When it spreads its wings it can have a wingspan of 51 cm. There are different color variations in their plumage due to a large number of subspecies out there. However, it appears that the nominal color is gray.
Its head is round, with protruding locks, yellow eyes, and a yellow beak. In appearance, it is similar to the megacops asio. The best way to distinguish them is through the sound they can emit.
Nine subspecies have been recognized:
- Megacops kennicottii kennicottii: This species ranges from the southern coast of Alaska to the northwestern part of Canada and the southern United States, in Oregon.
- Megacops kennicottii macfarlanei: Species that live in British Columbia, eastern Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana.
- Megacops kennicottii bendirei: It resides in western California and the extreme Northwest of Mexico.
- Megacops kennicottii like: Species that live in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
- Megacops kennicottii cardiogenesis: In northeastern Baja California (northwestern Mexico).
- Megacops kennicottii yumanensis: Resides in southeastern California, southwestern Arizona, and northwestern Mexico.
- Megacops kennicottii suttoni: It can be found in the extreme south of the United States and southern Mexico.
- Megacops kennicottii xantusi: In southern Baja California.
- Megacops kennicottii vinaceus: It resides in the western part of Mexico.
Ideal animal for falconry
When they live in the wild, they become more active at night or with the beginning of dusk. Thanks to their excellent hearing and fantastic night vision, they can locate their prey in the dark as if it were daytime. They usually hunt from a perch, from which they jump on their prey.
It feeds mainly on small mammals, young birds, and large insects, as well as some invertebrate animals. The normal thing is that he spends all night eating and then resting during the day.
If you are looking for a bird to train in the world of falconry, you should bet on this bird of prey. In America, it is widely used for its great capabilities as a hunting bird. If trained well, no prey can escape. Perhaps the biggest drawback is that it requires a lot of training.
Reproduction seems to take place in April-May, with the female laying four eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs for 25 days until the young are born that are fed by both parents until they can fend for themselves.
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