Facts about African Marsh Owl. The African Marsh Owl is a category of owl that belongs to the genus Asio of the Strigidae family. The biological name of the African Marsh Owl is Asio capensis and it is mostly a resident breeder in Madagascar and Africa. The African Marsh Owl prefers to live in open country that ranges from coastal swamps to savanna, and they can also be seen in inland marshes, montane grassland, and moors. African Marsh Owls are largely found in mountain ranges at an altitude of 9900 feet (3000 meters) above sea-level. The African Marsh Owls favor land with small plants and some areas of elongated grass or weeds. African Marsh Owls may also be found in local rice fields and drainage bands in forested savanna, occasionally in open regions close to or even in human colonies. African Marsh Owls are absent from wooded areas, rock-strewn landscapes, and deserts, and shun wide-ranging long grass.
Features of African Marsh Owl
The African Marsh Owl is a medium-sized owl, with the body length, ranging from 14 inches to 15 inches (35 cm to 37 cm) and a wingspan between 32 inches and 39 inches (82 cm and 99 cm). The length of the tail of these owls ranges from 5 3/16 inches to 7 13/32 inches (13.2 cm to 18.6 cm), with the body weight between 225 grams and 485 grams (0.2 kg and 0.5 kg).
The African Marsh Owl has yellow color eyes with a black color iris, and small ear-tufts that are not usually noticeable. It differs from other owls in its family by dark tan plumage, and approximately unstreaked upperparts. With the long wings, the African Marsh Owl glides gradually on stiff wings while hunting. It will habitually rest on the low posts or on the ground.
The upperparts of the African Marsh Owl are plain earth-brown in color, and its nape and crown are thinly vermiculated buff, and its upper-tail-coverts are barred buff. The primaries include plain, light tawny-buff bottoms, complementary with a shadowy patch at the wrist. The remainder of the flight feathers is barred, dark tan, and tawny-buff. The African Marsh Owl has a dark brown colored tail, barred pale buff with a pale tilt.
The underparts of the African Marsh Owl are uniform light buff on the belly, thighs, and under-tail-coverts. Its underwing-coverts are beige with a dark tan wrist patch that is noticeable during the flight. Tarsi have light tawny-buff feathers and its toes are wrapped with light buff plumes, leaving the dark tan tips bare. The claws of the African Marsh Owl are black in color. Usually, male owls are paler than the female ones, and there is a little individual difference in tone.
Diet of African Marsh Owl
The African Marsh Owl pursues for food over open country, habitually by day. African Marsh Owls mostly feeds on insects, but it will also feed on small creatures, such as birds and rodents. African Marsh Owls also feed on mice, rats, voles, young hares, shrews, bats, birds, with the size of small doves and ducks, lizards, frogs, scorpions, grasshoppers, beetles, etc.
Breeding of African Marsh Owl
The African Marsh Owl is a monogamous and territorial bird that nests in loose colonies. Usually the area of their territory ranges from .30 to .96 square miles (0.8 square km to 2.5 square km), but the area may be even smaller in thickly populated regions. The male owl claims territory through circling over it, clapping its wings and croaking. African Marsh Owls start building their nest during the later part of the wet season. The nest is a hollow inside a patch of high grass or weeds, habitually near a bush and with an entry channel from one side. African Marsh Owls may also nest on the ground in open swampy areas, laying 2 to 4 eggs between tussocks.
The average lifespan of the African Marsh Owl is 15 years.