Spot Bellied Eagle Owl spotted in Seshachalam forest of Andhra Pradesh for the first time

The bird, usually found on large trees in thick forests, was spotted twice in Andhra Pradesh earlier

January 18, 2023 06:17 pm | Updated 06:17 pm IST - TIRUPATI

The ‘Spot Bellied Eagle Owl’ (Bubo Nipalensis) sighted for the first time in Seshachalam forest range abutting Tirupati by a team of wildlife researchers.

The ‘Spot Bellied Eagle Owl’ (Bubo Nipalensis) sighted for the first time in Seshachalam forest range abutting Tirupati by a team of wildlife researchers. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A wildlife team recently stumbled upon a ‘Spot Bellied Eagle Owl’ (Bubo Nipalensis) for the first time in Seshachalam forest, and for the third time in Andhra Pradesh.

The bird’s habitat, found on large trees in thick forests, is spread across the Indian sub-continent. But it was sighted only twice in the State earlier, and both the times it was at Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve(NSTR).

A team, comprising ornithologist K. Karthik Sai (known as ‘Birdman Karthik’), wildlife photographer Gopi Lakkala and Bhakarapeta Forest Range Officer Dattatreya, spotted the bird on January 7 when it ventured into the Talakona forest area.

The bold predatory bird, measuring 20-25 inches in length and weighing between 1.5 kg and 2 kg, feeds on small rodents and lizards. “The bird makes a strange scream similar to humans and it is hence called the ‘Ghost of the Forest’ in India and ‘Devil Bird’ in Sri Lanka,” Mr. Karthik Sai told The Hindu.

The team also spotted a ‘Mottled Wood Owl’ (Strix Ocellata) last weekend in the fields abutting Chamala forest on the Tirupati-Annamayya inter-district border.

The ‘Mottled Wood Owl’ sighted recently in Chamala forest on the Tirupati-Annamayya district border.

The ‘Mottled Wood Owl’ sighted recently in Chamala forest on the Tirupati-Annamayya district border. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Though both are labelled as ‘least concern’ in terms of population stability, the development assumes significance in view of their maiden sighting in the verdant Seshachalam ranges.

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