Saturday, 10 May 2014

Spectacled Owl - Pulsatrix perspicillata

I called into Castle Espie WWT some time ago and Karl Hamilton from Mantella Evironmental Education  CLICK HERE was showing people the Spectacled Owl. Pulsatrix perspicillata, a large tropical Owl.  It is a resident breeder from southern Mexico and Trinidad, through Central America, south to southern Brazil, Paraguay and northwestern Argentina.  There are six subspecies.  This Owl below is called Ralph and is 6 years old.


The Spectacled Owl can range from 17 to 20 in in length. Mass in males can range from 0.999 to 1.543 lb, where as females can weigh from 1.50 to 2.20 lb.  It is unmistakable with brown upperparts, head and upper breast, white facial markings and whitish to yellowish-ochre underparts. The eyes are yellow and the beak is pale. 


The juvenile is even more distinctive than the adult, being completely white apart from a chocolate brown facial disc. Of the six subspecies, only the nominate and P. p. saturata are well described. P. p. saturata differs from the typical Spectacled Owl only in that it is black on the head and the back, with black barring on the sides.


The primary sound made by the Spectacled Owl consists of knocking or tapping sounds with a popping effect: PUP-pup-pup-pup-po or BOO Boo boo boo boo. Each progressive note becomes weaker but faster as the call continues. Females also make a hawk-like scream, ker-WHEEER, which has often been compared to a steam-whistle.


The Spectacled Owl is primarily a bird of tropical rain forests, being found mostly in areas where dense, old-growth forest is profuse. However, it may enter secondary habitats, such as forest edges, especially while hunting. On occasion, they have been found in dry forests, treed savanna plains, plantations and semi-open areas with trees.


This species is largely nocturnal, starting activity right around the time of last light at dusk and usually being back on their roosts for the day around first light. It is a solitary, unsocial bird, usually roosting singly each day and only peaceable associating with others of their own species for reproductive purposes.


The Spectacled Owl is typical the largest and most dominant owl in its range, with the larger Great Horned Owl rarely venturing into true rainforest habitats. Most hunting starts with the owl perched on a branch and scanning the area, then dropping with a quick pounce when prey is located. It preys principally on a wide array of mammals, eating almost anything type that is nocturnally active. Various rodents may be primary but other mammals preyed on have included opossums and skunks.  Prey species can be heavier than the predating owl, weigh over 3.3 lb as in Didelphis opossums, and even the much larger three-toed sloth has been reported to have been killed.  Invertebrates are eaten regularly as well, mainly caterpillars, but also crabs, snails, large insects and spiders. Insects may be gleaned directly from foliage while the large owls actively forage. Birds are also taken, including species, such as jays and pigeons, which are taken off of their nocturnal perches and smaller types of owl.


In Costa Rica, eggs are laid variously in the dry season (November–May), or at the start of the wet season (June–July). This owl typically nests in an unlined tree cavity. Spectacled Owls lay 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by the female for about 5 weeks. Chicks leave the nest for surrounding branches at about 5–6 weeks, well before they can fly, but depend on their parents for up to a year once fledged. Often, only one of the chicks will survive.


He also showed us a Tarantula.


Then we saw a Scorpion.


At last it was the turn of Darium, a 16 year old Carpet Python which of course I had to hold him!




While I was holding Darium, Carl shot a short video of him.

It can be access at

http://youtu.be/JsPcM8ExEJg

If there is a black space below, click it and the video will appear.



Thanks you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed it.

Many thanks for comment left on any of my posts.

I am linking this post with SATURDAY CRITTERS.

31 comments:

  1. the beautiful owl is magnificent Margaret; the python is a big one..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love the owl, and appreciate the beauty of the python - from a distance.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a gorgeous owl, I would love to see this owl in the wild some day. The spiders and snake is cool too. You are brave to hold that snake.. Great shots! Thank you for linking up with Saturday's Critters.. Have a happy weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  4. impressive Owl close ups Margaret, as is your time with the Python!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the introduction to Ralph. I love owls and really did enjoy learning more about the spectacled owl. I'm not sure I would have liked the tarantula or the scorpion. The python would have been okay! Happy Critter Day.

    ReplyDelete
  6. LOVE the owl, but the python? Not so much. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fabulous photos! Both the owl and the python are very handsome. Have a happy weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am quite sure that I would not have held the python but oh my that gorgeous owl is a sight to behold! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well you are one brave lady that's for sure holding the snake. I draw the line at slithering things. Uh ha. The spectacled owl is cool. I love how artistic people describe color, i.e. yellow ochre. Spot on! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  10. There seems to be so much quiet depth of character in this owl's face. The eyes are mesmerising. I echo the last comment on the python.

    ReplyDelete
  11. beautiful snake! and gorgeous owl, too! we get the small, brown scorpions here and the wolf spiders - those are enough for me to handle. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ralph is adorable... i've never seen a spectacled owl before... what great colorings he has. love how you held the python so comfortably. i've only held a black rat snake and thought it was exciting. i'll bet he was heavy though, wasn't he?

    your garden post below... such a beautiful place full of gorgeous blooms. i wouldn't want to leave. so much to explore. have a great day~

    ReplyDelete
  13. The owl is spectacular. I am still reeling at the sight of you holding the python. Not even the thought of a million dollar payout would get me to do that!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Terrific shots of Ralph! I love the close up of his eyes! The tarantula and scorpion made me cringe, but I would have loved to hold that python!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Gorgeous photography for SC ~ love the owl ~ awesome ~ xoxo

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

    ReplyDelete
  16. You're so brave. I have to try holding a phyton one day.
    Love the owl portraits too. Thanks for dropping by :)
    www.1sthappyfamily.com/2014/05/reflected-wings.html

    ReplyDelete
  17. WOW WOW WOW!!!!! This owl and your photos of it are beyond spectacular!!! And since they do not live in the states, this is the only time I will ever see one. Your close up macro, I can even see the detail on the feathers! Your scorpion shot looks so big that I thought it was a lobster at first. And your snake photos so close up, such detail. I am afraid of snakes, but could maybe hold one under controlled conditions. But anyway, you are brave. This is your best post so far!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. A fantastic bird and great photos.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Lovely shots of the Owl, and the shots of you and dear snake, absolutely genius.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ralph is a real beauty. I don't think I would have been able to hold that python, but you managed nicely. I enjoyed watching the video.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The owl is a gorgeous creature - such wonderful close up shots! What a thrill to hold that beautiful python!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow; Such Surprising shots. Beautiful Owl's close-up. Whew, you are so brave.

    Sending you Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wonderful shots of the owl and you are playing with snake.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your photos are fantastic Margaret, the owl is extraordinary, beautiful face. I was interested in the other critters too and think you were brave to hold the python. I wonder what it felt like? I am not sure I would have been brave enough to hold it, though I have to say I have always been fascinated with reptiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Denise I will tell you what it felt like. VERY heavy to hold and warm. I got very warm as I had quite a bit of clothing on and Karl said the snake would love that and for that reason he did not move quickly around me but just wanted to snuggle in!! Many thanks for your comment. The link to Karl's site is
      http://www.ecomantella.co.uk/

      Delete
  25. die Eule gefällt mir..aber die anderen Tier..da mache ich lieber einen Bogen drum

    LG zum Sonntag vom katerchen der DANKE für diese Bilder sagt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ich bin froh, dass du die Eule mochte und ich danke Ihnen für Ihren Kommentar.

      Delete
  26. wow, that owl is very special. Love it´s appearance. :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello Margaret, it was incredible to see your photos of the Spectacled Owl - the closeup of his eyes are just incredible, I loved the white feathers that surround them too.
    Thanks for the video of you holding the python - what an experience and it does look heavy. I read your reply to Denise about it seeking the warmth from you... so you re-charged him somewhat!
    Great to read your post, thank you for all the facts you've included too :D)

    ReplyDelete