Tuesday 21 May
Sjostedt’s owlet (Glaucidium sjostedti)
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Sjostedt’s owlet fact file
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Sjostedt’s owlet description
Sjostedt’s owlet is a small, attractively coloured owl species found in Central Africa. The head, neck and upper back are brown and densely marked with thin, white bars, while the rest of the upperparts are deep chestnut. Extensive barring is also found on the breast, which is light cinnamon-brown, with numerous dark brown bars on the upper breast that become more diffuse towards the lower regions. This species’ face is particularly distinctive, with striking, white eyebrow-like markings above the large, bright yellow eyes. The juvenile’s plumage resembles the adult’s, but is generally paler, with light yellowish-brown underparts becoming chestnut around the throat, and with faint barring on the upper breast (2).
- Chevêchette à queue barrée.
- Length: 20 – 25 cm (2)
Sjostedt’s owlet biology
A nocturnal species, Sjostedt’s owlet can be identified by its distinctive kroo-kroo-kroo call, most frequently made around dusk and dawn. Much of this species’ nighttime activity is devoted to hunting, which generally takes place in the forest understory. Its diet consists of insects such as grasshoppers, but also spiders, crabs, mice, small snakes and nestling birds. As a nestling predator, it is interesting to note that on occasions when Sjostedt’s owlet individuals are disturbed from their daytime roosts, they are often mobbed by small birds (2).
The breeding season of Sjostedt’s owlet is currently unclear. Although it is known to lay in July in Gabon, nestlings have been found throughout much of the year in Cameroon. Males are territorial, protecting their ranges from rival males, and making loud calls in order to attract females. After mating, a nest is constructed in a cavity or natural tree hollow, in which the female lays a clutch of at least two eggs, which are incubated for around one month (2).Top
Sjostedt’s owlet range
Sjostedt’s owlet is found in western Central Africa, from south-eastern Nigeria eastwards through Cameroon to the Central African Republic, and southwards to Gabon, northern Congo and north-western and central Democratic Republic of Congo (1) (2).Top
Sjostedt’s owlet habitatTop
Sjostedt’s owlet statusTop
Sjostedt’s owlet threats
There is currently some uncertainty regarding the conservation status of Sjostedt’s owlet. On the basis of its relatively large range, the IUCN do not classify this species as being particularly threatened at present (1). Nevertheless, with high levels of deforestation occurring in all of the countries that Sjostedt’s owlet occupies (2) (4), as well as a lack of global population surveys, it is possible that this species may be far less abundant, and more at risk, than is currently appreciated (2).Top
Sjostedt’s owlet conservation
Although there are no specific conservation measures in place for Sjostedt’s owlet at present (1), it is found within a number of protected areas throughout its range (4), including the Gamba Protected Areas Complex in Gabon (5). This collection of eight protected areas, two of which have National Park status, is helping to preserve Gabon’s unique wildlife from logging and hunting (5). Despite this protection, more information must be gathered about the population and breeding biology of Sjostedt’s owlet to ensure that its population is not in need of specific conservation action (2).Top
Find out more
To learn more about owl conservation visit:
World Owl Trust:
To find out more about conservation in Gabon visit:
Smithsonian National Zoological Park:
For more information on this and other bird species please see:
- BirdLife International:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- A bird that is still too young to leave the nest.
- Active at night.
- Primary forest
- Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
- An animal, a pair of animals or a colony that occupies and defends an area.
IUCN Red List (June, 2008)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1999) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 5: Barn-Owls to Hummingbirds. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
CITES (June, 2008)
BirdLife International (January, 2009)
Angehr, G., Schmidt, B., Njie, F., Christy, P., Gebhard, C., Tchignoumba, L. and Ombenotori, M.A.E. (2006) Bird surveys in the Gamba Complex of protected areas, Gabon. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington, 12: 327 - 352. Available at:
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