This striking photograph is of a young owl in defensive posture. It was found in a market in Ghana, and here I'd guess it's just arrived at its rescuer's home as young owls quickly lose their fear of humans.
These pics of the juvenile owl are a selection from Aidan Schoonbee's gallery on The Owl Pages. They appear by kind permission of Deane Lewis as Aidan was uncontactable at the time I saw them. CITES information for Bubo poensis is given here. The owl is distributed quite extensively across West and Central Africa. It is listed as threatened in the IUCN Red List, but fortunately its sub-status is LC, or least concern.
OWLS ARE UNIQUE among birds in their appearance, but this one looks pretty unique even for an owl! It's as if whoever made them said "Now for something completely different. Let's do away with the camouflage colours we've used so far and try something more vivid." Here's the intriguing and rather exotic result -- a confection in café au lait with streaks of burnt caramel.
Aidan rescued the owl in 2004 and appears to have given it a home in a large cage in his garden in Ghana, where he was working as a mill superintendant on a mine. I have put this selection up not only because the owl is so striking but because there are no other pics of this quality anywhere on the internet. Note that the pics here are of a young owl. Aidan's gallery has 19 photos of variable quality, including some good ones that show the adult bird with its eagle owl "ear" tufts. This link will take you directly to a good pic of the adult owl outdoors showing the tufts.
One thing that strikes me as curious is that tropical owls should have as many feathers as their tawny cousins from the cool woods here in temperate England. In summer I have to put on the cooler when Sophie's in the car to make her comfortable, so one wonders how these and other owls cope with the humid heat of the tropics.
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