Two month ago pearl spotted owl was found in a garden in Tzaneen with a broken wing. Nobody knows how it sustained the broken wing, but the little guy was in obvious pain and discomfort. We dehydrated the owl and placed a bandage on the wing to prevent any further damage. The day after it arrived it was taken to a local veterinary clinic where we used a section of an ordinary needle to act as a pin. Antibiotics were administered orally for the first couple of days and the owl was kept in a small transport carrier for the wing to heal. Yesterday the needle was removed and we are confident that the wing has healed well and normally. For the next couple of weeks the little owl will be allowed to recover its flying fitness in a large flight aviary and will be released as soon as we are confident that it is in tiptop shape.
Pearl spotted owls are one of Southern Africa’s smallest owls. They are ‘earless’ owls. They have cinnamon brown heads with off-white facial disks. Their upper-parts are brown with numerous dusky rimmed white spots. Their under-parts are white streaked with brown, and their eyes are yellow.
They feed on a variety of prey on arthropods, insects, bats and small rodents. They have been recorded to take laughing dove, weighing 200 grams, an achievement considering the owl only weighs around 85 grams. But they mainly feed on invertebrates, but powerful talons allow it to catch birds up to the size of large weavers, small mammals and reptiles.
They will breed from August to November and possibly both parents incubate the eggs for up to 31 days. The female lays 2-4 eggs in tree cavity, often made by woodpeckers or barbets. Incubation lasts 29 days, and the young fledge at 31 days and become independent a few weeks later.
Like many members of this genus, this species is often active by daylight. It’s unique whistled call is often heard in thorn scrub forest where the species can be quite common. They move about alone or in pairs. The Pearl-spotted Owl has mock eyes at the back of their heads. This will confuse the predator as to which way the owl is facing.
They are found in open savannah and semi open woodlands, they tend to avoid areas with long grass, deserts and heavy forest.
They are widely spread in Southern Africa, found in mainly bushveld and woodland areas, where they are commonly seen all year round. They are probably the most diurnal of the Southern African owls, moving about alone or in pairs.