Asio is a genus of typical owls, or true owls, in family Strigidae. The genus Asio contains the eared owls, which are characterised by feather tufts on the head which have the appearance of ears. This group has representatives over most of the planet, and the Short-eared Owl is one of the most widespread of all bird species, breeding in Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the Galpagos Islands. Its geographic range extends to all continents except Antarctica and Australia. These are medium-sized owls, 30?46 cm (12?18 in) in length with 80?103 cm (31.5?40 in) wingspans. They are long winged and have the characteristic facial disc. The two northern species are partially migratory, moving south in winter from the northern parts of their range, or wandering nomadically in poor vole years in search of better food supplies. Tropical Asio owls are largely sedentary. Asio owls are mainly nocturnal, but Short-eared Owls are also crepuscular. Most species nest on the ground, but the Long-eared Owl, Asio otus, nests in the old stick nests of crows, ravens and magpies (family Corvidae) and various hawks. These owls hunt over open fields or grasslands, taking mainly rodents, other small mammals and some birds.
|wingspan min.:||cm||wingspan max.:||cm|
|size min.:||29||cm||size max.:||36||cm|
|incubation min.:||14||days||incubation max.:||18||days|
|fledging min.:||27||days||fledging max.:||18||days|
Egg-laying season is from October-December in Botswana, and mainly from March-April elsewhere in southern Africa.
It lays 2-6, usually 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female, for about 27-28 days. The male does all the hunting, storing his prey in “caches”, to be eaten later by either him or the female.
The chicks stay in the nest for about 14-18 days, after which they crawl around the surrounding bush for a few weeks, at least until they learn to fly. The fledglings are thought to remain dependent on their parents until they are about 80 days old.
Video Marsh Owl
copyright: J. del Hoyo
It occupies an area from Ethiopia to southern Africa, where it is uncommon to locally common in Botswana, Zimbabwe and large areas of South Africa, especially in the Kruger National Park