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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Species Fact Profile: Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata)

Spectacled Owl
Pulsatrix perspicillata (Latham, 1790)

Range: Southern Mexico through northern and central South America
Habitat: Tropical Rainforest, Wooded Savannah
Diet: Small Mammals, Birds, Frogs, Insects
Social Grouping: Solitary, Paired
Reproduction: Monogamous. Breed in dry season or early wet season.  Nest in tree hollows. 1-2 eggs incubated by female for 5 weeks, both parents assist with rearing.  Chicks leave nest at 5-6 weeks old, depend on parents until one year old.  Usually only one chick survives.  Mature at 3-5 years old.
Lifespan: 25 Years (Captivity)
Conservation Status: IUCN Least Concern, CITES Appendix II

  • Body length 43-52 centimeters, wingspan 68-90 centimeters, weight 450-900 grams.  Females larger than males
  • Dark brown plumage on back, breast and belly are pale yellow or buff.  The bright yellow-orange eyes are encircled with white (giving the owl the appearance that it is wearing spectacles) and the chin is white.  Juveniles are white with brown facial markings
  • Most common call is a series of guttural tapping sounds (like a pop), gradually descending in volume and pitch (known as the "knocking owl" in some areas).  Females make a whistling scream
  • Typically nocturnal, but will sometimes hunt during the day
  • Largest owl in much of its range (except for occasionally-visiting great horned owl), can take prey larger than itself, such as opossums, skunks, agoutis, and sloths.  Will also take small insect prey, gleaning them off of leaves
  • Six subspecies recognized, varying in coloration and patterning of plumage.  Subspecies from Trinidad and Tobago (P. p. trinitatis) was considered a possible separate species, now likely extinct.

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