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Friday, March 25, 2011

Mystery bird: brown hawk-owl, Ninox scutulata

Brown hawk-owl, Ninox scutulata, also sometimes known as the brown boobook, photographed on one of the 99 islands that make up the archipelago, Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah, Malaysia, SouthEast Asia.

Image: Marie Louise Ng, 4 January 2011 [velociraptorize].
Nikon D7000, 500/F4

Question: This Malaysian mystery bird may actually be one of three nearly-identical species. What is the current basis that some ornithologists have for elevating this bird to a separate species?

Response: This is an adult brown hawk-owl, Ninox scutulata, a fairly common species in Malaysia and throughout much of SouthEast Asia. Some ornithologists argue that this bird is one of several cryptic species. They recently split this species complex into three species; N. scutulata, N. randi and N. japonica in 2002 based on consistent vocal differences within the Ninox scutulata complex. However, the prevailing opinion is that this bird is not part of a complex of cryptic species because these vocal differences are not accompanied by matching morphological differences. Additionally, it is difficult to judge just how great are the vocal differences and to decide whether they represent more than dialect differences between resident and migratory populations of a single species. At this point, brown hawk-owl's identity remains unchanged until further work has been completed. My guess is that at least some of this work will include DNA analyses.

From Mystery Bird 

AL :-
Interesting website with regards to the birds.. This owl quite hard to find in South East Asia but can be found in Langkawi. Thanks to ML. Now Langkawi is also known by bird lovers. 

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