Collared Owlet’s “dorsal face”

posted in: Morphology-Develop., Owls | 0

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In December 2015, Danaraj Maniam was birding at the Batang Kali forest in Selangor, Malaysia when he saw this little Collared Owlet (Glaucidium brodiei) at around noon time (above). “It was hunting for prey. This owlet is not shy, you can actually go very close about 20 meters to get a shot. It sat on the dry branch for about half an hour,” wrote Danaraj. “It is very active during the night with its two large orange yellow eyes. This little owlet is rare and is the smallest owl I have seen.”

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This owlet is a tiny bird with a rounded head and the eyes placed in front as compared to other birds where the eyes are on the sides. The neck is extremely flexible, being able to turn the head almost completely around – up to 270 degrees in either direction. This allows it to look back without turning around. This is shown in the image above where the head of the owlet is directed backwards.

Unique to this owl is the presence of a “dorsal face” on the nape behind, complete with dark “eyes” and “eyebrows:

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The above image shows the owlet in side view, calling for about 5 minutes.

Danaraj Maniam
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
8th February 2016

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