Working for birds in Africa

First record of African Grass Owl for Gabon

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Première mention de l’Effraie du Cap Tyto capensis pour le Gabon.

Le 13 août 2014, une Effraie du Cap Tyto capensis a été observée à Lékoni, au sud-est du Gabon. Il s’agit de la première donnée pour le pays.

On 13 August 2014, at c.17.00 hrs, a Rockjumper tour group I was leading was birding at a wetland near Lékoni, in south-east Gabon, when an owl flew out of dense grass. Initially, it was suspected to be a Marsh Owl Asio capensis, but on obtaining better views, I noticed it had a clearly pale heart-shaped face typical of a Tyto sp. and dark upperparts, thus eliminating Barn Owl T. alba. Based on these features, the bird was identified as an African Grass Owl T. capensis. Photographs were taken, two of which are reproduced here (Figs. 1–2). The bird circled overhead for c.1 minute, during which time closerange views were enjoyed by the group, before it dropped back into the grass.

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