Facts about Chaco Owl. The Chaco Owl lives in the dry Chaco woodlands among the grasslands of South America. The Chaco Owl species was first identified by Reichenberger in 1921. "Scientific name for the Chaco Owl is Strix chacoensis". It is a member of the Strix or wood all genus, the strigidae family. There are no subspecies or “races” of the Chaco owl.
Physical Description of Chaco Owl
These mid-sized Chaco Owls are around fourteen inches or (35 cm) tall. The wing span is around ten inches or (250 mm) long.
The Chaco Owl has black and white patterns on its feathers. The body is covered by black and white bar patterns. The Chaco Owl has large black eyes, a mostly white facial disk surrounded by a white rim and a white ring around the eyes. The eyebrows are barely there, a thin stripe of white. The Chaco Owl has a rounded head but no ear tufts.
Its under-parts are dark brown or grey. The tail has larger, broader black, and white bars. The wing coverts have rough blotches with some reddish brown on a darker grey-brown background. The Chaco Owl has a small yellow bill.
The tarsi are feathered, and the toes are feathered on the basal half. The toes have reddish horn with dark tips.
Male and female Chaco Owls have similar coloring. However, females are somewhat larger than the males. The juveniles are lighter and have downier feathers. Those in the southern end of its range tend to be darker in coloring.
The Chaco Owl species looks a lot like the Rufous-legged Owl, species name Strix rufipes. The Chaco Owls are probably allopatric, meaning that they evolved from the same ancestral population but differentiated after isolation. You can tell the difference between the two because the Chaco owl is paler, with reduced or missing brown tints to its feathers and a lack of brown in the facial disk.
Behavior of Chaco Owl
The Chaco Owl does not migrate with the seasons, though individuals may move within its range to follow food. It forms monogamous bonds with its mate to raise chicks.
The Chaco Owl eats small vertebrates such as mice and lizards and large insects from beetles to caterpillars.
The Chaco Owl is nocturnal. The Chaco Owl spends the day resting in protected tree cavities or dense branches.
Its vocalizations are closer to the croaking of a frog than the hooting of other owls. The initial note is quiet before ramping up in volume. The female has a higher pitched song than the male. Females sometimes shriek as well.
Habitat of Chaco Owl
The Chaco Owl lives in the canopies of the tropical deciduous forest. Chaco Owls live in both dense and open forests as well as shrub littered grasslands. Chaco Owls will live in flat areas and the hills.
Range of Chaco Owl
The Chaco Owl’s range stretches from southern Bolivia to northern Argentina to western Paraguay. The Chaco Owl species is of least concern by the IUCN.
Trivia of Chaco Owl
Another difference between the Chaco Owl and its perhaps closest relative is habitat – the Rufous-legged Owl prefers the temperate rain forests of Chile and Argentina, while the Strix is on the mixed forest and grasslands of the drier areas. However, the Chaco Owl species may be more closely related to the Strix hylophila or Rusty-barred Owl.