Taking advantage of early dark nights
mainly a dark, yet warmish brown above with white markings on the wings and finer marks on the head.
Its eyes are dark, with dark circles around them. The underparts are greyish white, barred brown. The finishing touch to this handsome creature is the yellow bill.
It lives in densely wooded valleys and forests, where it remains very well hidden during the daytime.
It simply amazes me how such a common bird can remain so secretive.
They are so seldom encountered during the day, but go out at night to the right habitat, and you are very likely to encounter this bird, or at least hear it.
They start their feeding and calling activity not long after dusk, when they quietly fly around looking for prey – small animals and reptiles, or insects.
But, it is the call of the African wood owl that is one of the most soothing and pleasant sounds of the bush to listen for.
It is a “talkative” series of hoots, the male’s call being lower in pitch.
Pairs often call in duet, and I have seldom encountered just a single bird calling. The main call is, “WU-hu . . . WU-huhuHU-hu”, answered by the same call, or a single “Whooo”.
You can hear most of these calls in my recording at https://www.xeno-canto. org/344199.
ý I am available for local birdwatching tours. Contact 072-314-0069.