“Discovered” subspecies of owl

None screamed the owl of paradise from Borneo (Otus brookii brookii) living in nature have not been observed since 1892! Researcher Andy Boyce “rediscovered” this subspecies of owl and was able to photograph for the first time in the forest of Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia.

Almost a mythical animal

Grand Duke Rajah (Otus brookii) is a bird that lives in the mountain forests of Borneo and Sumatra. It contains two different subtypes: Otus brookii solokensis (Sumatra) i Otus brookii brookii (Borneo). The first is more noticeable in nature than the second. Really, Otus brookii brookii has not been observed alive in the wild since its discovery in 1892 by a certain Richard Bowdler Shape at an altitude of 2,000 feet on Mount Dulit. “Only two confirmed specimens have been found since then; a dead bird found 1,900 meters away on Mount Kinabalu“1986. i”a specimen in the Sabah Parks collection that is said to have been collected at 1,650 meters on Mount Kinabalu in 1998“.

The study of this species in the wild is particularly complex for researchers: it is inconspicuous, it blends into its environment at high altitudes. In a new study published April 28, 2021 in the journal Wilson Journal of Ornithology, researcher Andy Boyce and two of his colleagues at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute say they discovered one of these rare specimens during field research on nest search and tracking. On May 4, 2016, a male named Keegan Tranquille spotted a larger nest than those commonly found. The bird was there, perched 1 meter above the ground. Informed of the discovery, Mr. Boyce observed the size, color of the eyes, and feathers of the animal: it was a screaming Borneo owl! To make the most of his discovery, the researcher observed the bird for two hours at an altitude of over 1,600 meters and photographed it. The owl will no longer be seen in the coming days.

Subspecies or species?

A subspecies of the northern horned owl Borneo (Otus brookii brookii) has not been documented alive in the wild since its discovery in 1892 and there are no photographs of live birds, congratulate the researchers in their study. We report on the rediscovery of this subspecies in the mountain forests of Mount Kinabalu (Sabah, Malaysia) at an altitude of 1,650 meters, and we also provide the first photographs of this subspecies in the wild.This observation is a confirmation of the presence of the bird on Borneo, but the subspecies still remains an enigma. Researchers ignore the sound of her vocalizations, her geographical distribution, breeding behavior, or even the magnitude of this information. These data are especially important for setting up management and especially conservation actions because the island of Borneo has been the scene of mass deforestation for decades. Otus brookii brookii depends on this environment. Moreover, the authors of this new study believe that it is not ridiculous to think that this owl population is actually a separate species. But a simple observation that is already difficult seems to make genetic analysis unattainable for now. “Unfortunately, we can only properly protect what we know and what we name“, laments in Statement Mr. Boyce.

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