Abyssinian owl
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Asio
Species:
A. abyssinicus
Binomial name
Asio abyssinicus

The Abyssinian owl or African long-eared owl (Asio abyssinicus) is a medium-sized true owl.

Description

The Abyssinian owl has yellow eyes, a black bill and gray eyebrows. It is similar in appearance to the long-eared owl, Asio otus, but their ranges do not overlap, and the Abyssinian owl is darker. It has prominent dark brown, white-edged ear tufts that are slightly centrally located on the head.

Behavior and Reproduction

Asio abyssinicus is a nocturnal owl. It uses the nests of other birds to raise its offspring. The claws of the Abyssinian owl are significantly stronger than other members of the genus; as a result a wider range of prey is available, including smaller birds, field mice, and shrews.

Distribution

The Abyssinian owl prefers open grasslands or moorlands with oak or cedar forests, and it is found in mountain valleys and gorges at elevations of up to 3900 meters (12,800 ft.) above sea level. It lives in the Albertine Rift montane forests, Ethiopia and northern Kenya. This species is classified as least concern by IUCN due to its very large range. However, the species is described as “rare to scarce” when looking to identify one.