Friday, August 24, 2012

Cebu Hawk Owl

Ninox rumseyi
We've been learning about many extinct animals lately, so I thought today we'd shift gears and talk about a species that is extant but was just discovered-- an example of all the mysterious animals out there that are completely new to us!

The Cebu Hawk Owl is actually one of two new Owl species found in the Philippines. They are so new that the first publications regarding them just came out this month!

The Owls was discovered by a team that has spent fifteen years researching the calls of the local Hawk Owls. It was once believed that these vocalizations all came from the same species, and an investigation was taking place to determine if there were new subspecies out there.

The interesting thing about these Owl calls is that they are not learned, like the calls of Parrots. Each call is unique to their species or subspecies, an is ingrained into their DNA. The calls of the Cebu Hawk Owl, and that of the other new species, the Camiguin Hawk Owl, were so different that scientists were able to classify them as a new species entirely.

The calls aren't the only feature distinguishing them from the other Philippine species. They also have differences in plumage, body shape, and body size when compared to the previous known species.

There is still much to learn about the Cebu Hawk Owl-- there are many many vocal recordings, but only one has ever been seen.

Status : Possibly endangered
Location : Philippines
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Strigiformes
Genus : Ninox -- Species : N. rumseyi

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