Fine Art

Ptilopsis leucotis

Ptilopsis leucotis, Photo: Adrian Pingstone

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Subordo: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Ordo: Strigiformes

Familia: Strigidae
Subfamilia: Striginae
Genus: Ptilopsis
Species: Ptilopsis leucotis

Ptilopsis leucotis (Temminck, 1820)

Strix leucotis (protonym)
Otus leucotis


Nouveau recueil de planches coloriées d'oiseaux livr.3 pl.16

Vernacular names
čeština: Výreček bělolící
Deutsch: Büscheleule
English: Northern White-faced Owl
español: Autillo cariblanco
فارسی: جغد سفیدرخ شمالی
suomi: Valkonaamapöllönen
français: Petit-duc à face blanche
magyar: Pamatos füleskuvik
italiano: Assiolo faccia bianca di Temminck
日本語: アフリカオオコノハズク
Nederlands: Noordelijke witwangdwergooruil
norsk: Hvitfjesugle
svenska: Nordlig gråuggla
中文: 白臉角鴞

The northern white-faced owl (Ptilopsis leucotis) is a species of owl in the family Strigidae. The southern white-faced owl (P. granti) was formerly included in this species and the two were known as the white-faced scops-owl.

It is found in a band across Africa between the Sahara and the Equator. It occurs in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Togo and Uganda.

Fight-or-flight response

This owl has a rather notable defense mechanism. When faced with a similar-sized predator (like another owl slightly larger than it) the bird flares its wings to appear larger. When faced with something much larger than itself (such as an eagle), it pulls its feathers inwards, elongates its body, and narrows its eyes to thin slits. It is thought that it uses this ability to camouflage itself,[3][4] and it shares the ability with relatives like the African scops owl.[5]

Many different types of owls have some ability to adopt a "concealing posture", also known by the German word Tarnstellung,[6] in which they squeeze and thin their body to look like a broken tree branch, and some types may also narrow their eyes to slits and fold a wing sideways across their chest in a Dracula-like manner to hide the lighter-colored feathers on their underparts.[7] Such behavior has also been documented in Eastern screech owls in a natural setting reacting to threats.[8]
In popular culture

A member of this species named "Popo-chan" was the subject of a Japanese television show.[9][10]

Sinclair, Ian & Ryan, Peter (2003) Birds of Africa south of the Sahara, Struik, Cape Town.

BirdLife International (2016). "Ptilopsis leucotis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T61781834A95179876. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T61781834A95179876.en. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
"Appendices | CITES". Retrieved 14 January 2022.
Discussed in the "Habits" section of Northern White-faced Owl's entry in Owls of the World by Claus König and Friedhelm Weick (2008). p. 315.
"White faced Scops owl" from the website of the Bronx Zoo.
Newman's Birds of Southern Africa by Kenneth Newman (2002), p. 238.
North American Owls: Biology and Natural History by Paul A. Johnsgard (1988), p. 63
Owls by Cynthia Berger (2005), p. 42-43.
See YouTube video Wild Transformer Owls - New and Natural! for same behavior exhibited by eastern screech owls
See youtube video Popo-chan for the full segment, or the edited version Transformer Owl. Accessed 20 April 2012.
Popo-chan is housed in a Japanese bird and flower park called Kakegawa Kachoen which has a Japanese-language website here, with an English translation of the page by google found here (the park also has an English-language website which mentions "Popo the White-faced Scops Owl" here but does not identify the precise species). In the "Here are the highlights" section of the translated version there is a line translated as "famous in Japan in the mimicry Owl Giant African Scops of Popo Chan", and the "Giant African Scops" link takes readers to a page on Ptilopsis leucotis, the scientific name for the Northern White-faced Owl.

Birds, Fine Art Prints

Birds Images

Biology Encyclopedia

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Home - Hellenica World