Buff-fronted Owl

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Image:BuffFrontedOwl.jpg

Common Name: Buff-fronted Owl
Scientific Name: Aegolius harrisii

Size: 7.5-8.3 inches (19-21 cm); Wingspan: 18.9 inches (48 cm)

Habitat: South America; Andes from Venezuela to Ecuador and southward on the eastern slope to Northern Argentina. There have been some records from the eastern Paraguayan Chaco. Specimens have been collected on Cerro Neblina in Southern Venezuela. There is an isolated population in Eastern Brazil, from Goiás south to Rio Grande do Sul and Uruguay and adjacent regions of Paraguay and Argentina. Distribution seems scattered and local, and it is likely populations are yet to be discovered.

Primarily montane and cloud forest alternating with clearings and pastures, up to near timberline: wooded areas up to 3000m. Also occurs at lower altitudes in dense forest with tall trees and dense undergrowth.

Status: Least Concern to Vulnerable. Global population: Unknown amount of adult individuals with a neutral population trend. The population is suspected to be fluctuating owing to relative size in prey populations.

Diet: Mostly rodents and other small mammals, although it will also take birds and insects.

Nesting: Males and females are alike however males tend to be up to 8% heavier than females.. The facial disc is round, with a narrow blackish rim, and bordered buffish. There are areas of blackish-brown from the top of each eye to the edge of the disc, bordering the ochre-buffish forehead. Eyes are yellow. Cere is yellowish-gray and the bill is yellowish to pale bluish-green. The chin has a dark brown or blackish bib that nearly merges into a thin blackish rim. The crown is blackish-brown. The mantle and back are dark chocolate-brown with a few rounded white and buffish spots. There is a narrow buffish-ochre nuchal collar, contrasting with the darker back. Scapulars have several large buffish-ochre spots on the outer webs. The wings have whitish, rounded spots. The tail is blackish with a white tip and two visible rows of rounded white spots on each web of feathers. Breast and belly are plain yellowish-tawny to ochre-buff. Tarsi are feathered to the base of the toes, which are bare and pale yellow with dark brown claws.

The Buff-fronted Owl is an unsociable. The breeding season seems to vary according to climatic conditions. Nests are in tree cavities, especially woodpecker holes, of varying height above the ground.

Cool Facts: This owl’s Latin name refers to the American ornithologist Edward Harris (1799-1863).

It’s flight is strong and direct. The male's territorial song consists of very rapid high-pitched trills with a 'quivering' character uttered in very rapid staccato (15-16 notes per second) and lasting about 7-10 seconds “Gurrrrrurrrrrrrurrrr”. The general character of the call is somewhat irregular and wavering, as the phrase increases and decreases in volume. A soft, single, high-pitched u call is probably a contact call. A short series of accelerating staccato notes falling in pitch (bouncing ball call) seems to be an alarm call. It is often preceded by single, upward-inflected hoots with a wailing character “bu bu-bu-bubububub”. The female give a thin, very high-pitched “tseet” when calling for her mate for food.


Found in Songbird ReMix Owls of the World Volume 2

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