The Southern White Faced Scops Owl is a small owl easily recognizable by the very striking white facial disc with a border of black plumage. It has large, bright orange eyes, which are surrounded with black colours. They are 25cm in height and they weigh around 200gms, making them one of the smallest owls in Southern Africa.

This species is found singly or in pairs, where the female will lay a clutch of 2 or 3 eggs in an old stick nest of many other bird species. If these abandoned nests are not available, they will nest in natural tree holes. The young chicks will start flying at roughly 33 days.

These nocturnal owls are very well known for their ability to “transform” their shape. If they are alarmed, they have a way of escaping detection – they can elongate their bodies and contract their plumage, making themselves look taller and thinner. At the same time, they can narrow their very bright eyes into slits, making their faces less visible. To create the illusion of being much larger and more aggressive, they will open and raise their wings, creating a large “semi-circle” around their bodies – and then fluff out their feathers to further increase their apparent size.

According to tradition, owls are considered to be the wisest of all birds. Their large eyes give the impression of intelligence, so they are often depicted in stories as wise and knowledgeable.
In our world full of endless activity and distractions, being able to sit quietly is a lost art.

Story by Chané (River Lodge)

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