SPOT BELLIED EAGLE OWL (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     4th June 2024        
output themes

Context: Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR), Maharashtra, recently reported the first photographic record of a spot-bellied eagle owl.

Spot Bellied Eagle Owl

  • About: It is also known as the forest eagle-owl, is a formidable bird of prey inhabiting forests in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
  • Size and Appearance: This owl is notably large, measuring between 50 to 65 cm (20 to 26 in) in length, ranking sixth in length among owl species worldwide.
  • Distribution and Habitat: This species is distributed through the Lower Himalayas from Kumaon east to Burma, thence to central Laos and central Vietnam. 

oThey are found throughout the Indian subcontinent and peninsular Southeast Asia, reaching the southernmost limits of their range in Sri Lanka and 12 degrees north in southern Thailand.

  • Key Features: Its distinguishing traits include rich chocolate brown upperparts speckled with white spots, a massive wingspan of up to 1.7 meters, and a primarily nocturnal lifestyle.

oAs an apex predator, it preys on various animals like rodents, small mammals, reptiles, and insects.

oThe spot-bellied eagle-owl is solitary, territorial, and maintains a distinct home range, characteristic of its behavior as a large owl species.

  • Conservation Status:

oIUCN: Least Concern

oWildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule IV 

oCITES: Appendix II.

Pench Tiger Reserve

  • Location: situated in Maharashtra.
  • Geographical Features: The sanctuary spans across Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

oThe Madhya Pradesh portion lies in the Satpura ranges.

  • National Park: Comprising the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, Pench Mowgli Sanctuary, and a buffer zone.