Ptilopsis – White-faced owls

These owls hunt from a perch, dropping down on their unsuspecting prey

There are just two Ptilopsis species with separate home ranges in northern – and southern Africa. They have round orange eyes, dark-grey patterned feathers, and long ear tufts. They eat insects, reptiles, and small mammals.

Northern white-faced owls have a quieter two-note call, while southern owls utter rapid staccato hoots. Because of their relatively small size, white-faced owls are preyed on by larger raptors. White-faced owls respond to larger threats by freezing, elongating their bodies, and closing their eyes in the hopes of remaining unseen. However, white-faced owls try to intimidate smaller foes by puffing up their feathers to appear larger.