Anjouan Scops Owls

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The Anjouan Scops Owls (Otus capnodes) - also known as Comoro Scops Owls, Madagascar Scops-Owls or Smoky Scops Owls - are endemic to Anjouan Island (also known as Ndzuwani or Nzwani), which is part of the archipelago island nation of Comoros located in the Indian Ocean off the south-east coast of Africa.

This species was discovered in 1886, but by many considered to be extinct until it was rediscovered in June 1992.

It is suspected that less than 400 of them still exist and they are at risk of extinction due to habitat destruction. This species is, therefore, classified as Critically Endangered.


Description

Anjouan Scops Owls are small owls that measure about 20 - 22 cm in length. There are two color forms -- one with a dark ashy-brown plumage, and the other with a paler rufous-brown plumage. The pale grey facial disk is bordered black. The plumage is patterned with bars and streaks.

Their forward-facing eyes are nearly as large as human eyes and are immobile within their circular bone sockets. For this reason, owls need flexible necks, as they have to turn the entire head to change views. They have the same number of vertebrae in their necks as most mammals and can move their heads 270 degrees in either direction (nearly all the way around!). Most other bird species have their eyes on the sides of their heads enabling them to see sideways and, to some extent, backwards. Owls, on the other hand, have both eyes in the front which enhances their depth perception.

Owls are far-sighted, and are unable to clearly see anything within a few inches of their eyes. Their far vision - particularly in low light - is, however, exceptional.

To protect their eyes, Owls have 3 eyelids - one upper and one lower eyelid. The upper lid closes when the owl blinks, and the lower closes when the Owl sleeps. The third eyelid - called a nictitating membrane - is a thin layer of tissue that closes diagonally across the eye, from the inside to the outside. The purpose of these membranes is to clean, moisten and protect the surface of the eyes.


Calls / Vocalizations

Their calls are distinct, drawn-out whistles, usually repeated.


Alternate (Global) Names

Czech: výre?ek anjouanský ... Danish: Anjouandværghornugle ... Dutch: Anjouandwergooruil ...
Estonian: tumepäll ... Finnish: nzwaninpöllönen ... French: Petit-duc d'Anjouan ... German: Anjouaneule, Anjouan-Zwergohreule ... Italian: Assiolo di Anjouan ... Japanese: anjuanrukonohazuku ... Norwegian: Anjouanugle ... Polish: syczek krótkouchy ... Russian: ?????????? ?????, ????? ?????????? ... Slovak: výrik dennohlasý, výrik pískavý ... Spanish: Autillo de Anjouan ... Swedish: Anjouandvärguv


Other Web Resources

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson



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