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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Iranian Owl

The Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) is a species of owl which breeds in Europe, Asia, and North America. This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls of  Strigidae family which contains most species of owl. The other grouping of owls are the barn owls, family Tytonidae.  The Long-eared Owl is a medium sized owl, 31-37 cm in length with an 86-98 cm wingspan. It has erect blackish ear-tufts, which are positioned in the center of the head. The female is larger in size and darker in colouration than the male. The Long-eared Owl’s brownish feathers are vertically streaked. Tarsus and toes are entirely feathered.   Its habitat is forest close to open country. It nests in trees, often coniferous, using the old stick nests of other birds such as crows, ravens and magpies and various hawks.  An unusual characteristic of this species is its communal nesting in thickets during the winter months. The Long-eared Owl hunts over open country by night. It is very long winged, like the similar Short-eared Owl, and glides slowly on stiff wings when hunting. Its food is mainly rodents, small mammals, and birds.
Little Owl (Athene noctua) breeding habitat in Iran is usually in old seasonal river banks in rocky semi-deserts and deserts of Iran. one of the fascinating places to watch many of them breeding in extreme eastern steppes of Iran around Birjand Province.  Little owl often sits in the open in day time around the nest and if agitated, often bobs in an upright posture.
The Brown Fish Owl (Bubo zeylonensis or Ketupa zeylonensis) is an owl. This species is a part of the family known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most living owls. It inhabits the warm subtropical and humid tropical parts of continental Asia and some offshore islands.The four fish owls were previously generally separated in the genus Ketupa. mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data is equivocal on which genus name is applied for them, and today they are commonly lumped with the horned and eagle-owls (Bubo) – which they also resemble osteologically very much – for sake of convenience. Depending on whether some little-studied tropical eagle-owls are closer to the fish-owls than to the typical eagle-owls, Ketupa might be a valid genus if these as well as the fishing owls (formerly Scotopelia) are included in it. It is a large owl with prominent "ear" tufts, typically around 55 centimetres (22 in) in length and weighing 2–2.5 kilograms (4.4–5.5 lb) when fully grown. Subspecies differ in size and males are smaller than females, with the smallest birds not quite 50 cm (20 in) long and weighing as little as 1,100 grams (39 oz). The upperparts are reddish brown and heavily streaked with black or dark brown. The underparts are buff to whitish, with dark streaks and finer brown barring. The throat is white and can be conspicuously puffed, while the facial disk is indistinct. The irides are yellow, the feet a duller yellow, and the bill is dark. Sexes do not differ in appearance except for size.
The Spotted Owlet (Athene brama) is a small owl which breeds in tropical Asia from India to Southeast Asia. A common resident of open habitats including farmland and human habitation, it has adapted to living in cities. They roost in small groups in the hollows of trees or in cavities in rocks or buildings. It nests in a hole in a tree or building, laying 3-5 eggs. The species is absent from Sri Lanka, although the birds are found across the Palk Straits, just 30 kilometres away at Rameshwaram. Nests near human habitations may show higher breeding success due to increased availability of rodents for feeding young. The species shows a lot of variation including clinal variation in size and forms a superspecies with the very similar Little Owl.

The Spotted Owlet is small (21 cm) and stocky. The upperparts are grey-brown, heavily spotted with white. The underparts are white, streaked with brown. The facial disc is pale and the iris is yellow. There is a white neckband and supercilium. Sexes are similar. The flight is deeply undulating. The nominate form is darker than the paler forms such as indica of drier regions.
The Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) is a large and powerful owl in Iran. Iran also hosts Ascalaphus sub specie of eagle owls. The other sub specie known as desertorum lives in arid regions of Arabia. In Iran we should be able to observe two different variants of eagle owl; One being common eagle owl and the other being Ascalaphus SS. The Ascalaphus is known to be 20% smaller and has paler underparts blending to less spoted and blotched markings. In compare with eagles, smaller than the Golden Eagle but larger than the Snowy Owl. Snowy owl is hardly seen in Iran only random reports of them wintering in NE Iran. Eagle owl is titled the Iran's largest owl. The photo on the right is Ascalaphus SS of eagle owl (Bubo ascalaphus) which is resident in Iran.  The Eagle Owl has a wingspan of up to 138-200 cm and measures 58-75 cm long. Females weigh 1.75-4.2 kg and males weigh 1.5-3.2 kg. It mainly feeds on small mammals, but can kill prey up to the size of foxes, Jackals and young deer (up to 10 kg/22 lb), if taken by surprise. I've seen her at night rubbing a sparrow hawk of its sleeping branch of a tree. Fur or feather eagle owls are savvy night hunters. Larger prey is consumed on the ground which leaves the bird vulnerable to ground hunters like wolves. The call of the Eagle Owl is a deep resonant “ooh-hu” with emphasis on the first syllable for the male, and a more high-pitched uh-Hu for the female (in German, the name of this bird is "Uhu"). Each member of an Eagle Owl population can be identified by means of its vocalizations. The size, ear tufts and orange eyes make this a distinctive species. It has a strong direct flight. The ear tufts of males are more upright than those of females.
The horned owls are a part of the larger grouping of owls known as the typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae.
The Pallid Scops Owl (Otus brucei) is a small Scops Owl ranging from the Middle East to West and Central Asia, sometimes called the Striated Scops Owl.
The Pallid Scops Owl is a small eared owl similar in appearance to the Common Scops Owl but with more distinct streaks on the back and less intricate markings.The Pallid Scops Owl ranges from the Middle East to West and Central Asia, with some populations moving as far as the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, and Pakistan in the winter. It inhabits semi-open country with trees and bushes and has an estimated range of one to ten million kilometers. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20 a="a" and="and" appears="appears" approach="approach" be="be" combined="combined" criterion="criterion" declining="declining" does="does" extent="extent" fluctuating="fluctuating" for="for" fragmentation="fragmentation" habitat="habitat" hence="hence" km2="km2" locations="locations" not="not" number="number" of="of" or="or" population="population" quality="quality" range="range" severe="severe" size="size" small="small" species="species" stable="stable" the="the" thresholds="thresholds" to="to" trend="trend" under="under" vulnerable="vulnerable" with="with">30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10 a="a" be="be" continuing="continuing" decline="decline" estimated="estimated" individuals="individuals" mature="mature" to="to" with="with">10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.


  1. Hi Mano,
    What a nice blog site you have here! I can see that most of your preferred collections involve animals that can fly. I like collecting animal stamps too, only most of them are land or water types. I have once saw a long-earned owl near a friend’s vacation cabin, but what I usually see are the barn owls. I have cross-checked this owl stamp set on my favorite online stamp catalogue Go to Iran in the Catalogue, then in December 14, 2011 you will see the same set of stamps. It is even available as a minisheet without the white frame!

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