The 7 Species of Owls Found in Ethiopia! (2022)

Do you want to know the different types of owls in Ethiopia?

Types of owls in Ethiopia

 

If so, you have come to the right place. In the article below, I have listed the owls you can expect to see. For each species, you will find out how to identify each owl correctly, along with pictures, interesting facts, and RANGE MAPS!

 

The temptation to intersperse this entire article with puns is almost overwhelming. I could just wing it and beak-off about these birds all day long, but I really do give a hoot, and soon you would be talon me to stop it. Ok, settle down because that is owl you get. 🙂

 

Keep reading to learn about 7 Types of owls found in Ethiopia!

 


#1. Barn Owl

  • Tyto alba

Common Ethiopia owls

Identifying Characteristics:

  • They have a heart-shaped, white facial disk with a tawny brown outline. Their eyes are black.
  • The head, back, and tail are yellowish-brown with some white or ashy grey spots, and the underparts are white.
  • Adults are 17.3 inches (44 cm) tall, with a wingspan of 9 to 12.6 inches (23 to 32 cm).

 

Although Barn Owns typically roost in hollow trees, they’re often found in caves, wells, and even secluded buildings. They’re nocturnal, so anywhere that provides a dark, quiet space for this species to rest is a likely spot for a roost.

 

Barn Owls eat small rodents, insects, baby rabbits, small birds, frogs, lizards, and bats. They fly low over the ground, searching out prey with their excellent night vision, and quietly grab their meal from the ground.

 

Interestingly, wild Barn Owls in Ethiopia have a fairly short life span of around two years. But, when kept in captivity, this species can live up to 20 years. Although most animals live longer in captivity due to protection from predators and steady feeding, the Barn Owl takes it to a new level!

 

While this species is most active at night, they occasionally hunt just after sunrise or before sunset. Instead of trying to find one by sight, listen for its noises which can be varied and distinctive. They communicate with drawn-out screeches, distinct repetitive twittering, or low croaks. The Barn owl can also hiss or rasp when surprised.

 


#2. African Scops Owl

  • Otus senegalensis

Common owls found in Ethiopia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • This species has a less defined facial disk, pronounced ear tufts, and yellow eyes.
  • The body is grey and brown, with irregular pale white or pink markings that resemble tree bark.
  • Adults are 6.7 inches (17 cm) tall with a wingspan of approximately 18 inches (46 cm).

 

The African Scops Owl lives in wooded areas and forests. They hunt and fly at night and roost during the day in trees. This species has excellent camouflage, especially while sleeping. They perch on branches with their eyes closed and their ear tufts perked, which makes them look like an extension of the tree branch!

 

This species particularly likes eating insects like beetles, mosquitos, and flies. They hunt by scanning from a tree and swooping down to collect prey on the ground. However, they will hawk for flying insects, meaning they can scoop them right out of the air while in flight!

 

The African Scops Owl has one of the most unique calls of any owl in Ethiopia.

It emits a monotonous, unique “prrrp” as a means of communication.

 


#3. Cape Eagle Owl

  • Bubo capensis

Owls of Ethiopia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The facial disk is brown and white with a dark brown outline, small ear tufts, and orange or yellow eyes.
  • This species is dark brown overall, with light brown and white mottling.
  • Adults are 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm) long with a wingspan of 13 to 17 inches (33 to 43 cm).

 

The Cape Eagle Owl lives in mountainous forests and grasslands with rocky outcrops. They use rocks to build their roosting and nesting sites, so they are most likely to be seen around caves and crevices.

Like most owls in Ethiopia, Cape Eagle Owls are nocturnal.

In the daytime, they roost in rocky areas near bushes or occasionally in the crowns of trees. During the breeding season, males and females roost together.

 

Although it only takes 40 days for young Cape Eagle Owls to be fully grown, they often remain in the nest for up to six months while they learn to fly and hunt!

 

Both male and female Cape Eagle Owls have a strong hoot with a faint ending, but the female’s song is higher in pitch. When stressed or alarmed, they change their tune to a shorter, repetitive sound, similar to dog barking.

 


#4. Verreaux’s Eagle Owl

  • Bubo lacteus

Types of owls in Ethiopia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The facial disk is light grey with strong black borders. They have small ear tufts and brown eyes with unusual, pale pink eyelids.
  • Mainly gray, with some brown parts on the underside. Their back is brown with white spots on the shoulders.
  • Adults grow up to 26 inches (66 cm) in length with a wingspan of 4 feet 7 inches (up to 140 cm).

 

The Verreaux’s Eagle Owl is one of only a few owls in Ethiopia with no natural predators!

They hunt small mammals like hedgehogs, rodents, insects, birds, and reptiles.

 

Because of its nocturnal habits, it can be hard to spot a Verreaux’s Eagle Owl. They roost in mature trees with large branches and dense foliage. In addition, they have excellent camouflage. Their feathers are barred in a way that makes them appear blurry, and they blend in effortlessly with the leaves.

 

Members of this species form tight-knit social circles of two parents and their offspring. They are quite territorial and often fight other individuals of the species for territory. Despite these close family ties, one of the hatchlings is often ignored in favor of the older, larger young, and often the smaller chick dies of starvation.

 


#5. Pearl-spotted Owlet

  • Glaucidium perlatum

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The facial disc is brown and white, with yellow eyes and a yellow beak.
  • The upper body is brown with white spots and two dark spots outlined in white form false “eyes” on the back of its head.
  • Adults are 6.6 to 8.3 inches (17 to 21 cm) long with a wing length of 4 to 4.7 inches (10-12 cm).

 

The tiny Pearl-spotted Owlet is the smallest owl in Ethiopia.

Even the fully-grown adults are called owlets because of how little they are!

 

This species is active throughout the day and at night but prefers to hunt in the dark. During the day, the Pearl-spotted Owlet roosts in small bushes and often bathes in open water. You’re likely to see one splashing around in a lake, stream, or large pond.

 

The Pearl-spotted Owlet usually hunts grasshoppers and crickets. However, they also hunt lizards, small rodents, bats, snakes, or other small birds if those prey species are available.

 

They give a loud series of short shrills that start slow and then accelerate in tempo and pitch. Towards the end of the shrill, the tempo and the pitch lower again, with the last two shrills being longer. When distressed, Pearl-spotted Owlets alert their mates through soft whistles and peeps.

 


#6. African Wood Owl

  • Strix woodfordii

Identifying Characteristics:

  • This species has a rounded head, dark eyes, and white eyebrows. The facial disc is white with a dark brown outline. The beak is yellow.
  • The coloring is light brown above, and the underparts are white with brown spots.
  • Adults are 12 to 13.8 inches (30 to 35 cm) long with a wingspan of 8.6 to 10.6 inches (22 to 27 cm).

 

African Wood Owls, also called Woodford’s owls, live in forests and woodland areas. They’re nocturnal, and they roost in pairs in the dense foliage of trees. However, because of its nighttime activity and camouflage, you’d have a hard time finding one of these medium-sized owls in Ethiopia.

 

Their mating period is from July to October, and the female lays 1 to 3 eggs in a hollow tree. The incubation starts as soon as the first egg is laid, so the oldest, biggest hatchling sometimes kills the younger siblings if there is a food shortage. Hatchlings sometimes stay in the nest with their parents until the next breeding season.

 

Interestingly, African Wood Owls sing duets between males and females, usually in breeding pairs. The male calls with clear, fast hoots, and the female responds in a higher pitch but with a more relaxed, slower call.

 


#7. Greyish Eagle Owl

  • Bubo cinerascens

Identifying Characteristics:

  • This species’ facial disk is a medium brown with a dark outline. Its eyes are dark brown, and its beak is gray.
  • The coloring is brown mottled with cream on the back and wings, and the underside is white to pale cream.
  • Adults are about 17 inches (43 cm) long with a wingspan of 11 to 13 inches (28 to 33 cm).

 

The Greyish Eagle Owl is found in Ethiopia in open savannahs and dry, rocky deserts. They roost during the day in rocky outcrops, bushes, tree foliage, or in deserted manufactured structures like outbuildings and barns.

 

Its diet consists of large insects and spiders. The Greyish Eagle hunts at night from a perch, where it sits, and waits for prey to get closer. Occasionally, this species will also “hawk” flying insects directly from the air while gliding!

 


Do you need more help identifying an owl you saw in Ethiopia?

 

If so, check out this field guide, which is full of great information!

View Today's Price!

 

And be sure to check out these other articles about animals in Ethiopia:

 


Which of these owls have you seen before in Ethiopia?

 

Leave a COMMENT below!

 

Leave a Reply