Best 12 Spectacled Owl Facts, Habitat, Diet, Lifespan

Spectacled owl

One can recognize spectacled owls easily due to their dark brown plumage, and white feathers circling their eyes. Their habitat is tropical American forests. You may not know that this owl is the largest tropical owl present in America. The chest is very light in color as compared to other brown feathers. 

Spectacled owls are famous for the white feathers which are present around their yellow eyes. They are most commonly observed in Mexico, Brazil, and the forests of Bolivia.

Spectacled owls usually prefer to hunt in pairs, both male and female try to cover an area of 500 hectares daily in order to search prey like rodents (mouse, squirrels), small reptiles like snakes, worms, and amphibians including small frogs.

Spectacled owls love to make their nests in tree holes and tree cavities. Most of the time they select those trees which get collapsed by the calamities like rain and thunderstorms.

As spectacled owls are nocturnal it is usually difficult to see them, most likely you will acknowledge them after hearing their calls. Their calls consist of hoots of low-pitch, not having a consistent pattern of rhythm. They also make sounds similar to a cat-crying, and that is high-pitch.

A young spectacled owl looks very different from their adult forms. They have a black face, and muffled brown colored feathers. The scientific family of the spectacled owls is “Strigidae”.

Spectacled owl

Spectacled owls are one of the types of owls, but you may be wondering why they have this name? Well! That is because they have white feathers around their eyes. These feathers resemble spectacles, and therefore they are named as spectacled owls.

Spectacled owls inhabit the American forests, and like all other owls, they are also nocturnal. You may wonder that this owl is the largest among the American owls, and has a length of forty-eight centimeters.

Spectacled owl plumage is Dark brown, but their chest prominent because it is off-white, and it has a dark brown patch on its top. Spectacled owls inhabit diverse ranges of habitats, primarily they live in dense tropical forests of Mexico, Brazil, and Bolivia.

Both males and females scan territories for the feed. The spectacled owls mainly go for small rodents, insects, and reptiles. Like other owls, they also build their nests in the tree’s cavities, and these cavities are mainly formed when a tree collapses during a heavy thunderstorm.

Spectacled owls also belong to the Strigidae family. As they are nocturnal, they are hard to see, but their calls acknowledge their presence. Spectacled owl’s calls are in the form of low-pitched hoots that slowly increase in volume. 

Young spectacled owls are much different than the adult owls. In the weaning stage, they have dark brown plumage and black colored faces. The calls of the owlets are similar to weeping calls of a cat. 

What does a spectacled owl eat?

Like all other owls, spectacled owls also depend upon the insects and other animals for their diet, making them strictly carnivorous. Their diet varies much according to their habitats. 

Spectacled owls can eat a lot of diverse animals ranging from insects, small mammals like rodents, including rats, mice, squirrels, etc., lizards, caterpillars, and many more. Anything that is active during the night, and it comes into the vision of the spectacled owls, they do not miss the opportunity.

More giant insects, spiders, crabs, snails, scorpions, and small snakes make up this owl’s diet. Sometimes, spectacled owls also munch upon the birds like jays, motmots, pigeons, oropendolas, and smaller owl species.

Spectacled owls strictly follow the nocturnal behavior and remain alone or solitary throughout the year. At the times when you see two spectacled owls together, such kinds of sights are only observable when their breeding season is near. Following their nocturnal behavior, they begin their hunting activities as the sun goes down and come back at their roosting position as soon as the sun comes up. do you want to know about scops owl?

Spectacled owl lifespan

As they are nocturnal, the fact is nocturnal birds do not have many predators, and therefore, these owls can live up to thirty -five years in the wild. However, in captivation, spectacled owls only live for twenty-five to thirty years.

Spectacled owl interesting facts

  1. Brazilians have a unique name for the spectacled owls. They call them “Knocking owls.”
  2. Spectacled owls are one of the biggest and the most abundant native owl species in the tropical regions.
  3. Spectacled owls have excellent night vision with excessive rod cells in their retina to see maximum in the dark.
  4. Owls have the closest linkages with songbirds, hummingbirds, and kingfishers, etc. Strange right?
  5. Spectacled owls have fourteen vertebral connections in their necks, which is the only reason they can rotate their heads to two seventy degrees.
  6. Female spectacled owls are enormous in size and weight as compared to males.
  7. In captivation, spectacled owls can live up to twenty-five years.
  8. Spectacles owls start finding their mates in November and so the breeding season continues up to May.
  9. The spectacled owls become mature after the span of five years; however, they can mate even before that.
  10. Spectacled owls give birth to a clutch containing one or two eggs. Their eggs incubate in five years.
  11. Spectacled owls are excellent parents, and they take care of their owlets for up to 1 year.
  12. Spectacled owls are capable of roosting at maximum heights of four thousand feet.

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Spectacled owl appearance

These owls are large in size and are easily identified by their dark brown plumage with bright colored wite chests. There is a dark brown patch on the upper parts of their chest that connects the chest and their heads. They have pale-colored bills, and the inner parts are also light brown or light yellow. 

The eyes of the spectacled owls are bright golden yellow. The owlets are much more different than the adults because they are entirely white in color, and the facial discs are dark browned. As the owl matures, then it develops the brown-colored plumage.

Where does the spectacled owl live?

Spectacled owls are primarily birds of tropical forests, and they build nests in dense humid forests. These owls have successfully inhabited the forests of Mexico, Trinidad, Brazil, Paraguay, Central America, and Argentina. Spectacled owls can be spotted near those areas where water is in abundant supply and where there is a dense plantation. However, due to amazing surviving capabilities, spectacled owls are successful in inhabiting other habitats as well, like dry forests, tundras, savannahs, plains, artificially planted forests with few trees. Spectacled owls are also present in subtropical mountain regions like Costa Rica.

Spectacled owl habitat

As mentioned above, spectacled owls inhabit a diverse range of habitats, from dense forests to plains, Greenlands, dry forests, tundras, savannas, and subtropical regions. Owls have amazing adaptive nature, and that is the only reason their species are found all over the world. 

Spectacled owl diet

Spectacled owls are large owls; therefore, their diet is also diverse as they have so many options available in the dense forests. Insects like caterpillars, worms, beetles, etc. are their primary diet. Rats, squirrels, mice, etc. are also in their diet list. Sometimes they also prey upon large birds like pigeons, etc.

Whenever they get the opportunity, they grab their prey through their sharp talons. Small prey like insects is enough to pierce through the beak; on the other hand, large prey like mammals and birds are pierced through their pointy talons. 

Like other owls, spectacled owls also secrete regurgitated bones and fur or the prey through their throat as owl pellets.

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Are spectacled owls endangered?

In the current era, spectacled owl species is not in the list of endangered species. On the other hand, they are large owls species that follow strict solitary and territorial behavior. 

Therefore, as they prefer to live alone, so in the areas where there is a scarcity of food, habitat destruction, and illegal hunting activities, their species can become endangered. 

When there is habitat destruction like clearing of the forests for the road construction, the spectacled owls usually die due to collisions with automobiles. According to the IUCN list, the spectacled owls currently face the least dangers, and therefore they are of least concern. However, due to constant habitat destruction, their numbers are decreasing.

What does a spectacled owl look like?

Spectacled owls are large-sized owls with darker brown plumage. They have a short bill that is off-white or pale. Spectacled owl’s upper chest bears a dark brown patch. They have round heads with no ear tufts, and the hidden or inner parts are also light brown or white. Claws are grey, and talons are black, the spectacled owls bear bright golden-yellow eyes with dilated pupils.

How spectacled owls defend themselves?

Spectacled owls like other owls are raptors, birds of prey. They are loaded with weapons like substantial bills, sharp talons, long legs, curved claws, sensitive eye-sight, and sound detection, and above all, slow flight. These all weapons work in synchronization to provide defense for these mammals.

Owls’ beaks and talons are strong and sharp enough to pierce up the flesh. Their feathers are excellently made up by nature to provide them that noiseless flight, which even cheats their predators.

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