Minahassa Masked Owls

To: "birding aus" <>
Subject: Minahassa Masked Owls
From: "Tom Tarrant" <>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 19:04:38 +1000
I'm posting this on behalf of Trevor Ford, please send all comments to me
and I will pass them on.

"I recently visited the Tangkoko reserve in Sulawesi with a friend, and we
were taken by a local guide to see their Minahassa Masked Owls. This
involved a walk to the beach and a boat ride of some 20 minutes, before
arriving at a small cliff face. The birds, presumably a pair, were together
in a hole less than 20 feet up the cliff. My friend was the first to express
doubts, noticing that they were far too big for the small Minahassa Masked
Owl, and that whilst one was rusty-coloured below, the other was pale. In
fact, entirely consistent with Sulawesi Masked Owl. Consulting available
literature, it would appear that Minahassa Masked Owl is a forest bird and
occurs from an elevation of 100 metres to 1,500 metres, not quite what we
were experiencing from our boat. An authority of the birds in the area was
shown photographs taken and is satisfied that they are Sulawesi Masked Owls.

But, according to our guide, these owls have been shown to visiting birders
for a couple of years, all of whom have happily 'ticked' Minahassa Masked
Owl. These visitors have included reputable bird tours with experienced
leaders. So what is the truth? Do we have a two-bird (or four-bird)
situation? I very much suspect not. Do we have a mass-hallucination
situation, based on every birders' natural desire to see a new and rare
bird? So much easier when you have had the bird identified for you and are
taken to see it! But surely the more experienced birders to have visited the
sight wouldn't have deluded themselves?

So, have you seen these owls and, if so, what did you think? Which
authoritative persons have identified these owls as Minahassas? It would be
good to uncover the real situation and learn how their identification was
established. I must admit to being a bit disappointed when it became clear
that we weren't going to add Minahassa Masked Owl to our list, although I
really enjoyed the experience of seeing a pair of tytos in broad daylight,
no matter what they were."

Tom & Marie Tarrant
Samsonvale, Qld

To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message: unsubscribe (in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Minahassa Masked Owls, Tom Tarrant <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU