Striped Owl by night at Santa Rosa

Striped Owl (Pseudoscops clamator): Buho listado; Hibou strié; Schreieule

Once seen, never forgotten, and perhaps the same can be said if you hear this strictly nocturnal species. Larger owls are referred to as ‘buhos‘ in Costa Rica, whereas smaller species are termed ‘lechuzas‘. The Striped Owl measures around 15″ and is therefore a ‘buho‘. Since it is not generally found above an elevation of 1500 m, it’s no surprise that I have neither seen nor heard it here in San Antonio de Santa Cruz (1300 m). Here are some very nice photos of a bird that John unexpectedly found in his garden last month down at nearby Santa Rosa, but which he has now confirmed to be resident there:

Striped Owl at night in Santa Rosa; photo by John Beer

The Striped Owl is one of only two of Costa Rica’s larger owls with long ear tufts. The tufts are usually raised only during the daytime or when alarmed. Its streaked underparts and round facial disc further distinguish it from the only marginally bigger Crested Owl (Lophostrix cristata), which I dealt with in an earlier post.

Note also the Striped Owl’s red eyes! Lack of sleep? It’s a rather uncommon species in most parts of Costa Rica, with the exception of the central Pacific lowlands, where it favours oil-palm plantations.

Striped Owl has ear tufts and black edging of facial disc; photo by John Beer

By hearing the nightly shrieks – in German it’s called a ‘shriek owl’ -and by being patient with the camera, John has confirmed that the species feels quite at home in Santa Rosa. At the end of May it was still present there:

Side view of Striped Owl; photo by John Beer

I’m still hoping at least to hear it in my neck of the woods.

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