Facts about African Grass Owl. The African Grass Owl is one of the owl species that belongs to the genus Tyto of the Tytonidae family. African Grass Owls are largely found in most of the African countries and Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe. The African Grass Owl species is considered susceptible in South Africa, together with 1,000 to 5,000 birds. The African Grass Owl breed is extirpated in the southwestern parts of Lesotho and South Africa, and the collective pressure from expansion, land clearing for farming, fire mismanagement, and deforestation, overgrazing and road-kill, is of grave concern for this owl species.
Features of African Grass Owl
The African Grass Owl is big size owl, with the body length that ranges from 15 1/4 inches to 16 7/8 inches (38 cm to 42 cm), with the wing length between 11 3/8 inches and 13 7/8 inches (28.3 cm and 34.5 cm). The African Grass Owl has a bigger body when compared to other wools in its genus, with the body weight, ranging from 355 grams and 520 grams (0.4 kg and 0.5 kg), with a stronger contrast between the lower and upper body. The upperparts of the owl are dark brown in color, whereas the underparts are whitish, with sprinkled small white marks and grayish flecks. African Grass Owls have a rounder face than other owls in their family.
The facial disc of the African Grass Owl is whitish-cream, with a slim yellowish-buff rim, which is thickly spotted dark. The African Grass Owl has a whitish to pale pink color bill, with brownish-black eyes. The African Grass Owl has a short tail, with the uniform brown color central feathers, and paler external feathers, approximately white, towards the tips, and demonstrating about four dark bars. The legs of the African Grass Owl are feathered pale to the last one-third of the tarsi. The rest of the toes and the tarsi are somewhat bristled and assume the light yellowish-grey color. African Grass Owls have dark grayish-tan to blackish claws.
Diet of African Grass Owl
The African Grass Owl mostly feeds on rodents and other small creatures, taken from the land. It also catches large insects, bats and small birds in the air and eats them. Usually, the owl hunts in a wavering flight over the ground at fewer heights, snooping and observing for prey, but it will hunt from a perch, as well.
Breeding of African Grass Owl
The African Grass Owl chiefly breeds from February to April, but they may also breed during December to August. The nest of the African Grass Owl is a low hollow, lined with grass at the last part of a grass tunnel. The female owl usually lays 2 to 4 white colored eggs, with the standard interval of 2 days. The female solely protects the eggs, whereas the male African Grass Owl supplies the food.
Incubation begins with the first egg and it will continue for 32 to 42 days. The juvenile birds are fed by the female bird for about 10 days with the food brought by the male owl. Then, both parents nourish the chicks. When the young birds attain the age of 4 weeks, the female African Grass Owl will no longer roost in the nest.
At the beginning of the fifth week, the young African Grass Owls will start wandering around their nest, and by the seventh week, they will make their first flight. Subsequent to leaving the nest, the juvenile African Grass Owls linger with the parents for three weeks, earlier than becoming independent.