Long-whiskered Owlet puts on a show
Further light has been shed on Long-whiskered Owlet Xenoglaux loweryi, among the most enigmatic, and least known, of South America’s birds.
A survey team in Northern Peru monitoring the Abra Patricia–Alto Nieva Private Conservation Area encountered the Endangered bird three times during daylight hours and frequently recorded its calls at night.
Several photographs were also taken of an owlet captured in a mist-net and later released onto a tree branch where it posed for the cameras before disappearing into the night.
"Seeing the Long-whiskered Owlet is a huge thrill," commented David Geale of Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN), part of the research team.
Since its discovery in 1976, Long-whiskered Owlet has been recorded on just a few occasions in spite of intensive searches.
Long-whiskered Owlet is listed as Endangered, on account of its small range and the rapid destruction of its forest habitat in the isolated ridges in the eastern Andes of Amazonas and San Martín, north Peru.
Conservationists working in the region hope the creation of the Abra Patricia–Alto Nieva Private Conservation Area, will help ensure a future for the secretive bird.
"By establishing a reserve and protecting the owlet's forest habitat, ABC and its partner ECOAN are giving many other species a chance to survive as well." said Hugo Arnal, American Bird Conservancy's (ABC) Tropical Andes Program Director.
"Seeing the Long-whiskered Owlet is a huge thrill" —David Geale, ECOAN
Abra Patricia–Alto Nieva Private Conservation Area forms part of the Alto Mayo Important Bird Area (IBA), identified for its threatened, restricted-range species including both the owlet and Ochre-fronted Antpitta Grallaricula ochraceifrons (also Endangered). On the basis of these two species, the site is also recognised by the Alliance for Zero Extinction.
“Sightings of renowned and elusive birds, especially as emblematic as Long-whiskered Owlet, are evidence of how little is known about the species diversity of these areas, all of which face incredible deforestation pressures.” said Dr Rob Clay, Senior Conservation Manager, BirdLife’s Americas Division/of BirdLife International. “Added survey efforts and recent protection of parts of its habitat are encouraging steps towards the owlet’s ensured survival, and the survival of the other, less-flamboyant but equally important, forest inhabitants.”
Find out more about Long-whiskered Owlet and its habitats: visit BirdLife's Datazone and search the world's birds, Endemic Bird Areas and Important Bird Areas.