Friday, July 1, 2011

Bird of the Month: Black-and-white Owl

The Black-and-white Owl (Ciccaba nigrolineata) is a medium-sized, strictly nocturnal bird inhabitant of forest and forest edges and adjacents clearing of Central and South America. In Panama, is a a common owl (by voice) in the adequate habitat, which includes the Panama City itself, where I took all the photos I'm showing here (more specifically, in the Albrook residential area, thanks to my friends Karl and Rosabel Kaufmann). This spectacular bird is beautifully patterned in black and white as its name suggest, with contrasting orange-yellow bare parts, making it unmistakable in its panamanian range, though some similar-looking species exist in South America (including the still undescribed "San Isidro Owl from Ecuador and Peru). Despite its commoness, and characteristic vocalizations (similar to those of the Mottled Owl), it is not well-known by the general population, surely due to its nocturnal habits. It feed mainly on insects (notice the katydid this indivual have in the beak), but also on small mammals, including bats that sometimes flycatch under artificial lights. It is always nice to find these big predators, specially if they allow you to take some pictures despite the light conditions. For these, and many others reasons is why we choose the Black-and-white Owl as our bird of the month!This post was submitted to Bird Photography Weekly #149, check it out!

Literature consulted
1. Ridgely RS, Gwynne J. A guide to the birds of Panama. 1st spanish edition 1993
2. Angehr GR, Dean R. The Birds of Panama. A field guide. 1st edition 2010


  1. What an amazing looking owl. Great pics Jan.

  2. great shots of a difficult bird. :)
    I visited Panama in one day in February. I was on transfer between Costa Rica and Amsterdam. Did see a small fraction around the canal area. :)

  3. Great photo, great bird. I'm dying to get to Panama some day and see all the wonderful birds.

  4. I'm pretty sure that all you will love Panama in the very first instant of your visit. Hope it will be soon!