Saturday, October 23, 2021

Rare African Owl: First photo in wild ever!

This is really cool, Shelly's eagle-owl (Bubo shelleyi) (aka the dark eagle-owl) was described in 1872 from a single specimen and remained very hard to find. Twenty specimens were collected over 150 years, but photos of the live owl were nonexistent, save for those of a specimen held in the Antwerp Zoo in the 1970s. The IUCN estimated the population as low as 1,500 when the species was assessed in 2018.  In October 2021, two scientists took photos in Ghana that captured the barred, brownish owl's yellow bill, black eyes, and impressive size (up to 61 cm / 24 inches long). Congratulations!

The photos are not reproduced here for copyright reasons, but Johannes Gerardus Keulemans painted it in 1875.  

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