|Southern white-faced owl|
|Near Chobe River, Botswana|
The southern white-faced owl (Ptilopsis granti) is a fairly small owl in the family Strigidae. It is native to the southern half of Africa. It was formerly regarded as a subspecies of the northern white-faced owl (P. leucopsis) but the two are now commonly treated as separate species.
It is 22–28 centimetres (8.7–11.0 in) long and weighs 185–220 grams (6.5–7.8 oz). The upperparts are grey with dark streaks and there are white spots on the scapular feathers. The underparts are whitish with dark streaks. The face is white with a black border and black around the large orange eyes. The head has two short “ear” tufts with black tips. Juvenile birds have a greyish face. The Northern White-faced Owl is usually paler and browner with reduced streaking below.
Their call is a series of fast, bubbling hoots. It is uttered at night and frequently repeated. These fast, staccato notes followed by a longer and higher pitched ‘hoot’ are extensively used during breeding season and pairs of owls often sing together. The northern white-faced owl has a very different two-note call.
Its range extends from Gabon eastwards to southern Kenya and southwards to Namibia and northern South Africa. It inhabits savanna and dry woodland. It is usually seen alone or in pairs. It mainly hunts large insects, as well as the occasional small mammals, birds and reptiles.
During the winter, Southern White-faced Scops-owls increase their resting metabolic rate by approximately 45% to adjust to the climate changes. Furthermore, the owls do this to increase cold temperature tolerance which is unusual for these creatures. Not only that, but their BMR of the owl is lower than what is expected of other birds similar to them to help them when there is lack of food. This is unusual considering the lack of food and other survival resources during the winter.