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Sri Lanka Bay Owl - Phodilus assimilis

Also known as Ceylon Bay Owl

Calls - Phodilus assimilis
Typical call Sringeri, Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India. October 2008. CC Ravi Prakash

Introduction: Formerly considered to be the same species as the similar Oriental Bay Owl, the Sri Lanka Bay Owl is much darker and browner above, and has different vocalisations.

[For help with terms used in the description, see parts of an owl. For general characteristics common to most owl species, see owl physiology.]

Description: The facial disk is V-shaped and coloured vinaceous-pink, though this colouring does not reach the top of the crown. There are dark, vertical patches on the face that "go through" the brownish-black eyes. The bill is yellowish.
Upperparts are dark chestnut, densely speckled black and white, with a golden collar on the hindneck and golden patches on the scapulars. Wings are heavily barred dark, and the tail has 8-10 narrow dark bars.
Underparts are pale buffish, with many black and white spots.
The legs are relatively short and feathered buffish to the base of the bare toes, which are coloured pale greyish-brown with dirty whitish to pale grey claws.

Size: Length around 29cm. Wing length 192-208mm. Tail length 81-90mm. No weight data available.

Habits: The Sri Lanka Bay Owl is a nocturnal bird. Although habits are not well studied, the are likely similar to the Oriental Bay Owl.

Voice: A series of phrases of 3-4 whining, tremulous, whistled notes, first rising markedly, then falling. The duration of each note is 1-1.2 seconds, and they are spaced at one note per 2 seconds. The whole phrase is 4-6 seconds long.

Hunting & Food: Poorly known. Pellets examined have contained only bones and fur of small rodents.

Breeding: Little information available. Breeds in hollow trees. Clutch size is 2-3 pure white eggs. Young have been found in November in Sri Lanka that were very different in size, suggesting that incubation begins with the first egg, and successive eggs are laid several days apart.

Habitat: Heavy evergreen and mixed forests, mangroves and cut-over forests from sea level up to 2200m elevation.

Distribution: Sri Lanka and Southern parts of the Western Ghats in the state of Kerala, India.

Distribution of Sri Lanka Bay Owl - Phodilus assimilis
Distribution of the Sri Lanka Bay Owl Phodilus assimilis

Original Description: Hume. 1877. Stray Feathers, 5, p. 137-138.

Subspecies: P. a. assimilis, P. a. ripleyi


del Hoyo, Elliott & Sargatal. 1999. "Handbook of the Birds of the World: Barn Owls to Hummingbirds". Buteo Books
Duncan, James R. 2003. "Owls of the World: Their Lives, Behavior and Survival". Firefly Books
König, Claus & Weick, Friedhelm. 2008. "Owls: A Guide to the Owls of the World (Second Edition)". Yale University Press
Mikkola, Heimo. 2012. "Owls of the World: A Photographic Guide". Bloomsbury

Page Information:

Page compiled by . Page last updated 2013-06-23 Owl Species ID: 020.030.000

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