This is a rare species that is restricted to the pine forests of Belize. We recently trapped and tagged two of these owls along with Raptor Biologist Ryan Philips from the Belize Raptor Research Institute. This is the first time this species is trapped and tagged for Radio Telemetry studies. As you can imagine, we are super excited to have accomplished this.
I keep tracking the owl, which apparently does not cover much area during the day, but doubles the hunting zone at night.
The Stygian Owl is a large Neotropical owl recognizable by its dark face with a pale diamond shape on its forehead, streaked underparts, feather tufts, and piercing golden eyes. Slightly smaller and slimmer than a Great Horned Owl, this voracious bird hunts a wide variety of prey in open forest and at forest edges.
They Stygian Owl has a wide range throughout the Neotropics from Mexico to northern Argentina but has a very patchy distribution. It is found mainly in pine-oak forest at higher elevations.
The Mountain Pine Ridge in Belize is one of the best places to see Stygian Owls in Central America. We come across them perched on open snags or roosting in the upper levels of pine trees, where they camouflage perfectly with the dark mottled bark.
Photograph by Richard Holder at Blancaneaux Lodge, Mountain Pine Ridge.
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