Friday 17 May
African wood-owl (Strix woodfordii)
African wood-owl fact file
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African wood-owl description
The African wood-owl is a medium sized owl distinguished by the notable lack of ear tufts on its rounded head, large dark eyes outlined by white eyebrows, and brown and white barred belly (2) (4). Overall, it has rich brown plumage with paler underparts, but there is considerable variation in shade and patterning across its range (2). Four subspecies that differ slightly in appearance and size are sometimes recognised: Strix woodfordii woodfordii, S.w.umbrina, S.w.nigricantior, S.w.nuchalis (2) (5) (6). The male call is a rapid series of clear hoots, which the female typically answers in a higher pitched, but more leisurely tone (5).
- Hulotte africaine.
African wood-owl biology
This strictly nocturnal species roosts during the day in dense vegetation, 1 to 30 metres off the ground, either alone or in pairs (2). At night, it emerges to hunt for arthropods, reptiles, small mammals and birds, which are caught on the wing, off the ground or in trees and shrubs (2) (6).
The nests are generally made in tree holes, without additional lining material. Between one and three eggs are laid, at two to four day intervals, and incubated by the female for around 31 days. During this time, the male does all the hunting and feeds the female at the nest. The hatchlings open their eyes after about ten days and start branching after 23 to 37 days. By around 45 days after hatching, the young will be competent fliers but remain with the parents until roughly four months old (5).Top
African wood-owl rangeTop
African wood-owl habitatTop
African wood-owl statusTop
African wood-owl threats
As the African wood-owl is completely dependent on forest and woodland habitat, it is very susceptible to deforestation. Nonetheless, it is still described as common and its population is thought to be stable. Consequently it is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List (1) (7).Top
African wood-owl conservation
There are no known conservation measures currently in place for the African wood-owl.Top
Find out more
To find out more about the conservation of owls see:
- World Owl Trust:
For more information on this and other bird species please see:
- BirdLife International:
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- A very diverse phylum (a major grouping of animals) that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
- A stage that occurs before young owls can fly, or are ready to leave parental care, when they leave the nest and climb around the branches.
- The act of keeping eggs warm so that development is possible.
- Active at night.
- IUCN Red List (September, 2008)
- Kemp, A. and Kemp, M. (2006) Sasol Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
- CITES (September, 2008)
- Sinclair, I. (1994) Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
- The Hawk Conservancy Trust (December, 2008)
- World Owl Trust (December, 2008)
- BirdLife International (December, 2008)
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