Published On : Fri, Jun 8th, 2018

After Black Panther in Tadoba, spot bellied eagle own sighted in Vidarbha

Nagpur: After the sighting of a black panther in Tadoba, a rare bird has been spotted in Pench Reserve. This time, a rarely seen spot bellied eagle owl has been sighted in the Saleghat Range of Mahasinghdeo Wildlife Sanctuary, under Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra. The bird has been seen for the first time in the region, said a well-known bird expert Raju Kasambe from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).The ace Wildlife Photographer Kapish Rai made the discovery.

Kosambe said, “It has been earlier recorded in Pench (MP), Kanha, Balaghat, Koyna and Bhimashankar sanctuaries in Western Maharashtra and Chorle Ghat (Maharashtra-Goa border).” He also added that the bird is seen actively during the night and is very shy. The bird was spotted in an evening safari in Saleghat at around 6 pm on May 20. A city bird watcher and wildlife photographer, Kapish Rai, spotted the bird. “I spent last 12 days to get confirmation from bird experts and watchers,” he said.

In a usual Safari Drive taken from Khubada Gate of Pench National Park, Rai saw two owls flying, they were having a big wing span so he waited there to recognise them and it was to the surprise spot bellied eagle owl. There were two owls but one of them came and sat on a tree branch as seen in the picture. There are no records of these owls in Vidarbha region and is seen for the first time and photographed by Rai. The spot-bellied eagle-owl is a large species of owl. It measures from 50 to 65 cm in length. It is the sixth longest owl in the world on average and has the ninth longest wings of any living owl. The widely reported weight range for this species 1.3 to 1.5 kg.

The spot-bellied eagle-owl is overall a stark, grayish brown bird, with dark, coarse brown coloration over the back and upper wings. The throat and under parts are mainly pale fulvous in colour with black and white horizontal stripes along the flanks of the body that become broad spots on the abdomen and under tail coverts. On the wings, the primaries are dark brown with lighter brown stripes and the secondary’s are more heavily barred with buff-brown coloration. The lores are covered in bristly feathers and the cheeks are brownish-white with black feather shafts. The large ear tufts slant off to the sides. Juvenile birds are distinct from adult birds, being a much paler grayish-cream overall with fairly heavy brownish barring. Distinguishing the spot-bellied eagle-owl is relatively straightforward, since other Indian and southeast Asian eagle owls do not generally dwell in deep forests as does this species.