The Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata) is a large nocturnal bird.
The Spectacled Owl has blackish-brown upperparts, head and upper chest, white facial markings, and whitish to yellowish-ochre underparts. Its eyes are yellow, and its beak is pale.
It measures 41-52 centimetres (16-21 inches) tall.
The Spectacled Owl is native to South America, from southern Brazil, Paraguay, and north-western Argentina. It prefers tropical rain forests.
It is mostly nocturnal, hunting and feeding at night. It drops on its prey and kills it with its sharp claws. It eats mainly rats and mice. It also eats bats, tamarin monkeys, skunks, agoutis, birds, crabs, snails, insects and spiders.
It is a solitary, unsocial bird. It nests in an unlined tree cavity. The female lays 1-2 eggs, which the female sits on until they hatch after five weeks. If two eggs are hatched, often only one of the chicks will survive.
Chicks leave the nest at about 5–6 weeks, but they cannot usually fly well at this stage. The chicks, called owlets, depend on their parents for several months after leaving the nest and may be cared for and fed for up to a year.
[Location of photographs: Paris Zoo, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM