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Black-banded Owl - Strix huhula

Formerly Ciccaba huhula

Calls - Strix huhula
Typical call Brazil © Nunes D'Acosta

[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 disc is blackish, and densely marked with whitish concentric lines, with the rim and eyebrows finely speckled whitish and black. Eyes are brown to dark brown with pinkish-flesh eyelids. Cere and bill are yellowish-horn to pale orange-yellow. The bristles around the bill are blackish. The chin has a blackish patch. The forehead and crown to the lower back are densely marked with narrow, whitish wavy bars.
Upperparts are sooty-brown to blackish. Flight feathers are sooty-brown with some paler bars. Primaries are distinctly blacker than the rest of the plumage. Tail feathers are sooty blackish-brown with 4-5 narrow whitish bars and a white terminal band.
Underparts are distinctly barred blackish and white, the white bars being broader than on the upperparts.
Tarsi are feathered to the base of the toes with black and white mottled feathering. Toes are bare and yellowish. Claws are pale horn with darker tips.

Size: Length 30-36cm. Wing length 243-280mm. Weight of one specimen 397g.

Habits: The Black-banded Owl is a nocturnal bird, roosting in a well-concealed spot in a tree during the day, and becoming active at dusk.

Voice: The song of the male is a rapid series of 3-4 deep guttural notes increasing in volume and pitch, followed by a louder, explosive, down-slurred hoot, and sometimes a second short, emphasised hoot after a short break - wobobobo hwuo or wobobobo whuo hu. This is repeated after a while. The female has a similar but higher-pitched, more wailing song. Also recorded is a series of higher-pitched hoots in a sequence of 2-3 notes, possibly a female call - how-how-how.

Hunting & Food: The Black-banded Owl eats mainly insects, especially locusts, mantises and beetles. They also take small mammals and other small vertebrates.

Breeding: The breeding biology of this owl is virtually unknown. Likely breeds in natural tree holes or rotten stumps.

Habitat: Tropical and subtropical rainforest, forest clearings, and coffee and banana plantations in forested areas. Generally in lowlands up to about 500m but may be found higher in the cloud forests on the Andean slopes. This owl has been recorded at 1100m in northern Argentina.

Distribution: South America east of the Andes, from Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador to the Amazon, south to Bolivia, Paraguay, northern Argentina and southeast Brazil.

Distribution of Black-banded Owl - Strix huhula
Distribution of the Black-banded Owl Strix huhula

Status: Uncertain.

Original Description: Daudin, Francois Marie. 1800. Traite elementaire et complet d'Ornithologie, ou Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux (Traited Orn. [Daudin]) 2: p 190.

Subspecies: S. h. huhula, S. h. albomarginata


Boyer and Hume. 1991. "Owls of the World". BookSales Inc
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

Page Information:

Page compiled by . Page last updated 2013-05-28 Owl Species ID: 140.040.000

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