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RUFOUS-BANDED OWL } Strix albitarsis

RANGE: Patchily distributed from Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador to northernmost northwest Peru, and from northern Peru on the east Andean slopes south to Bolivia

STATUS: Status is uncertain; included on the IUCN Red List as a species of Least Concern

THREATS: Forest destruction

A medium-sized, round-headed owl without ear tufts, the rufous-banded owl has large, orange-yellow eyes. It also has a pretty large range: BirdLife International estimates its “global extent of occurrence” at 330,000 square kilometers. Making its home at elevations between 1,700 and 3,400 meters above sea level, this owl lives in South America’s dense montane and cloud forests, where thick undergrowth and mosses grow.  The owl is strictly nocturnal, but very little else is known about its ecology, habits, or nesting — and since it lives mostly in areas with unstable political situations, research critical for learning more about this owl is difficult to carry out.

Photo © Kyle Elliott