Bird of the Week, December 23, 2011
Long-whiskered Owlet


Long-whiskered Owlet by Dubi Shapiro

 

The Long-whiskered Owlet is one of the tiniest owls in the world, measuring only 5” tall.  Its long, wispy facial feathers extend out past its head, making the bird appear to have long whiskers; its large eyes are a vivid orange-brown.  Only discovered in 1976, this owl is so distinctive that scientists have placed it in its own genus: Xenoglaux, meaning “strange owl”.

 

Ongoing habitat destruction for agriculture and timber is the biggest threat to this species. Fortunately, this owl and other threatened birds, such as the Ochre-fronted Antpitta, Johnson's Tody-Tyrant, and Royal Sunangel, are protected at the Abra Patricia Reserve, where ABC and our Peruvian partner ECOAN have secured approximately 24,900 acres of key native habitat.

 

At present, the reserve provides the best opportunity for birdwatchers to see the owlet, where it can be found along trails near ECOAN’s Owlet Lodge.

 

Birdwatchers interested in visiting Abra Patricia can find out more and plan their trip at ECOAN’s website or ConservationBirding.org.

 

Here is a video of the Long-whiskered Owlet taken at the reserve in November 2011 by Guy Foulks.

 

Photo: Dubi Shapiro; Range Map, ABC