While the sight of Giant Eagle Owl perched in an aging leadwood tree is always an awesome sight on any game drive, it’s the endearing little guys that tend to steal the ‘owl’ show …

Pearl Spotted Owlet 081A7290

Pearl-spotted Owlet

Kruger Park has three species of ‘owlet’ that are fairly regularly observed. The Pearl-spotted Owlet is most often encountered due to its diurnal predatory habits targeting a suite of small birds. Aside from a preference to hunt from an openly exposed perch, the characteristic whistling call is a giveaway to the bird’s presence.

African Barred Owlet 081A6977

African Barred Owlet

Next up but far more sedentary and usually favouring heavy foliage,  is the equally delightful African Barred Owlet. It’s ‘purring’ contact call makes it fairly easy to locate if present in one of the large rest camps where one can bird on foot or in the company of a game scout on a trail.

African Scops Owl

African Scops Owl

Last, and most delightful of all, is the diminutive Scops Owlet. It is usually to be found fast asleep in a favoured day time roost against the trunk of a grey-barked tree, such as an appelblaar or mopani, that matches its plumage colouration. One of the familiar and far-carrying sounds of the Bushveld  in the still of the African night after dusk, is the pulsating ventriloqual ‘kruup’ contact call repeated every  5 – 8 seconds  …

For more info on birding and bird tours in South Africa contact us on info@avianleisure.com