Monday, September 1, 2014

Collared Scops Owl

(24 cm.) Large for scops owl; ear tufts;  pale brown “collar” extending around back of neck; dark brown eyes

Owls are often viewed with fear and superstition by many cultures in the world, including China. It is probably their unflinchingly staring large eyes, nocturnal habits, and eerie, ghost-like calls that has earned them this distrust by humankind

 In fact, owls are necessary agents in maintaining the balance of nature and occupy vital ecological niches. Instead of considering these creatures with distrust, we should be grateful to them for their role in controlling the populations of many species we deem as “vermin”, such as rats and mice, animals that have been connected throughout history to human suffering.

The Collared Scops Owl is a small member of the owl order, “strigiformes”. It is too small to be imposing to any mammal, even the rats and mice often preyed upon by larger owls. As a scaled down predator, its prey is also scaled down accordingly. This species will usually hunt no animal bigger than a grasshopper, and insects constitute the largest part of its diet.

The Collared Scops Owl is a resident species throughout almost all of eastern China, only missing in western parts of Heilongjiang and Jilin. It is only partially migratory.

This species is found in woodlands and parks where trees are in abundance. It is one species of owl which has managed to become an urban resident in China, It can be found in the eastern Chinese cities in residential areas where trees are plentiful.

The female scops owl will nest in a tree, like most other owl species. It will lay 3-5 eggs

Several other species of scops owls can be found in China and one other, the Oriental Scops Owl is found in the east. All scops owls are small and have “ears”, the feathered tufts which look like cat’s ears. Other owl species in China will likely be found far from human habitation, however.


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