Members of the genus Lophostrix are medium-sized, dark owls. They have long ear-tufts, almost but not quite as interwoven into the neck as the Maned Owl (Jubula lettii ) of Africa.
The genus contains one species in the Americas.
In its Chocolate-brown form, the crown, facial disc and upper breast are deep chocolate-brown. The dark rim around facial disc is, in most cases, almost invisible, although some individuals have rufous facial disc. The forehead, eyebrows and ear-tufts are mostly white. They are dark chocolate-brown above, with white spots on the wing-coverts and the outer webs of the primary flight feathers. All of the flight feathers are barred with light and dark brown. The tail feathers are chocolate-brown with darker mottling. Below the upper breast is pale brownish with faint brown markings. The legs are feathered to the base of the digits. In its rufous-brown form it is generally light rufous-brown instead of dark chocolate.
The eyes are usually dark brown, although there are individuals with orange-yellow or deep yellow eyes. The bill is yellowish-horn to dark horn. The digits are light greyish-brown, terminating in talons that are dark horn with black tips.
There is much individual variability of the basic colour types, as well as noticeable geographic variations, giving rise to a number of subspecies.
Listen to the sound of Crested Owl
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
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Video Crested Owl
The Crested Owl is found in Southern Mexico through the coastal parts of Central America to Venezuela. Also in Surinam, the Guianas, Amazonian Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia. Very rare in Suriname, only a few specimen collected.