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African Wood Owl: 19 Facts You Won’t Believe

Discover fascinating African wood owl facts about its description, habitat, and diet.

The African wood owl is a medium-sized bird of phylum Chordata, class Aves, order Strigiformes, and family Strigidae. This species was previously placed in some other genus Ciccaba, but these creatures show a resemblance to the species of genus Strix. This meant their genus was changed to Strix. It is a common member of the Strix genus and is native to the Old World. The African wood owl got its name from the British soldier of the Napoleonic era. The African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) bird is brown and white in color and is gray barred. These birds have a pale facial disc with dark lines and dark brown eyes. The edges around the eyes are pink and they have a yellow bill. The neck and head are dark brown in color with many small white stripes. They have dusky rufous color on their mantle and back. The flight feathers have white bars on them with buff vermiculations. These birds are found in the South Africa region and Sub-Saharan Africa. They inhabit woodland, shrublands, and dry habitats. The diet of this owl is quite wide. It is an insectivore primarily but also likes to eat small mammals. This African wood owl (Strix woodfordiiis) is very common in the forests of South Africa. They can have a variable range of colors depending on their geographical conditions. They can range from red-brown to black-brown.

Have an interest in birds and want to know about more of them? Here you can know some amazing facts about the short-eared owl and the great gray owl!

African Wood Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an African wood owl?

The African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) is a type of owl in the dry regions of Africa. This bird has a light brown to yellowish beak.

What class of animal does an African wood owl belong to?

This bird species belongs to the Aves class, the family Strigidae, and the genus Strix. Their scientific name is Strix woodfordii. These owls living in highlands have comparatively more feathers on their toes than the rainforest ones. They both have a different color range too.

How many African wood owls are there in the world?

The exact number of these African wood owl (Strix woodfordii birds has not been counted, but due to their abundance in African countries, their number is high. There is a total of more than 250 species of owls in the world. Owls live in every type of climate and zones except for the largest ice desert, the Antarctica. These birds belong to a group of birds known as Strigiformes.

Where does an African wood owl live?

This African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) of Africa is a bird found in dry regions and mainly prefers to live in a tree. Countries like South Africa, Somalia, Tunisia, Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, south  Botswana, Ethiopia, Senegal, south Guinea-Bissau, Burundi, south Gambia, south Algeria, south Zambia, south Zimbabwe, Kenya, Angola, Sierra Leone, southern Mozambique, Rwanda, and Ghana see a major distribution of these owls.

What is an African wood owl's habitat?

These birds are typical forest creatures and mostly prefer to live in dense woodland and forest, riverine forest, plantations, moist evergreen forest, dense deciduous forest, dense coastal bush, and gardens. They sometimes inhabit the areas of eucalypts and pine. The sea-level elevation range for their habitat is around 2.3 mi (3701 m). The wood owl (Strix woodfordii) is found between Cape Town and the Kruger park coast.

Who does the African wood owl live with?

Little is known about their social behavior, but these birds are nocturnal birds and are rarely active during the daytime. They roost in the daytime sitting on high trees. The vocal calls they make are mostly at night from the top of the tree.

How long does an African wood owl live?

The average lifespan of the African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) is around 12-15 years if they have a suitable and comfortable habitat onditions.

How do they reproduce?

The African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) is monogamous and mates for life with one owl. The pair mostly occupies territory in forests and near riversides. Their mate fidelity is quite high and the females lay a clutch of one to three eggs between July and October. The female has an incubation period of about 32-40 days. The young ones stay in the nest for about 40 days after hatching and take 10 days to open their eyes. The females brood the young for 18-20 days and then leave them alone to search for food. When the baby is 30 days old, they leave the nest, though unable to fly and still dependent on the parent pair for feeding. They are able to fly after 50 days.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) of genus Strix is under the category of Least Concern species. They have a wide distribution but the increased temperatures happening in the Old World countries has caused habitat destruction and a decrease in the population trend.

African Wood Owl Fun Facts

What does the African wood owl look like?

The African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) is a medium-sized owl with a brown body. Its description is very interesting. They have various color variations, from buffy rufous to chocolate brown. Their facial disc is pale rufous and they are gray barred. They have white eyebrows and dark ears and heads. Their tail and feathers are pale and dark brown while the underparts are pale-white to brownish in the shade. The feet are yellow and so are the bill and cere. They have many white spots also on their body on their brown skin. Their scapulars form a white row across the shoulder. Their underparts are whitish and brown and the claws are gray in color.

The African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) with a dark brown body is a native bird of Africa and often shows friendly behavior.

How cute are they?

The African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) comes under the category of small birds and is very cute. They sit quietly on a tree without bothering anyone. Also, they are quite fluffy and their large eyes and small cute bill make their face very adorable. One of the cutest owls is the barn owl.

How do they communicate?

The African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) is a nocturnal bird and makes calls mostly during the night. Their call is like a rhythmic series of hoots and usually happens between the parents. They give a short wheezing call when their young ones beg. The African wood owl sound or calls is loud and called ‘whubu-wububu-wubu.’ Whereas the females have a higher-pitched voice.

How big is an African wood owl?

The African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) is in one of the medium-sized owl categories globally, and they are around 12-13.8 in (30.5-35 cm) in length. The burrowing owl of the same class Aves and the same family Strigidae is two times longer than this owl.

How fast can an African wood owl fly?

The exact flying speed of these African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) birds is not known yet but these owls are good flyers. A similar species called Great horned owls fly up to 40 mph (64.3 kph). Owls cannot fly in the rain efficiently, however, very few species of these birds can fly long distances like the snowy owl.

How much does an African wood owl weigh?

After full growth under favorable conditions and a good environment, these birds can attain their maximum size and weigh around 8.4-12.3 oz (240-350 g). Another owl species, the tawny owl is twice the weight of this owl, especially females.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Similar to other birds, male and female birds are generally called cocks and hens. A male owl is often called an owl coco and a female owl is called an owl hen.

What would you call a baby African wood owl?

The babies of these birds are called owlets when they are newly hatched and still dependent on their parent pair and this name is gender-neutral.

What do they eat?

This African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) bird eats both insects and fleshy animals, meaning it has a variety of animals in its diet. They hunt by dropping onto prey on the ground and from low perches. They sometimes hunt from trees or small vegetation. The African wood owl diet includes small birds, rodents, insects, frogs, snakes, small mammals, grasshoppers, crickets, moths, cicadas, beetles, caterpillars, frogs, reptiles, and shrews. They often catch insects in the air at night.

Are they dangerous?

There are many cases where these owls have been seen attacking people. Owls are not aggressive and never attack first but if someone threatens them, touches their nest, or tries to hold their babies, they will attack and harm people. They are highly territorial as well and can be seen defending their territories from other owls or intruders.

Would they make a good pet?

This species is known to have a good relation with human beings. They are very friendly and can become good pets if treated with care and affection. Replicating the preferred dry area habitat of the African wood owl (Strix woodfordii) may be an issue. Talking about owls as a pet, you could be like Harry Potter with his owl Hedwig!

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

This species is very intelligent. Due to their brown skin color, they are very good at camouflaging and hide very well in trees from predators and prey. There are no information regarding their migratory patterns, unlike Tawny owls that are non-migratory.

When they hunt their prey in the air, their silent wings do not let the prey recognize that there is someone behind it. They easily catch their prey, especially in the dark because visibility is less anyway.

Why is it called an African wood owl?

This species is called African Wood Owls because they are native to African countries and secondly, these owls spend and nest most of their time in woods like woodland forests.

Where do African wood owls nest?

They use natural tree holes in trees for making their nest, especially in the woodland and shrublands. It is not necessary that they make their nest by themselves. They often use the nest of a larger bird or nests on the grounds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these umbrellabird facts and the bee-eater facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable African wood owl coloring pages.

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