A previously unsighted owl species has been spotted in the UAE.
The Emirates Wildlife Society – World Wide Fund for Nature (EWS-WWF) announced the discovery following an owl survey in the Hajar Mountains in the country’s Eastern Region.
Named the Arabian Eagle Owl (Bubo africanus milesi), this latest finding stresses the need for more studies on the country’s rich and still unexplored biodiversity.
Jacky Judas, manager and scientific advisor of terrestrial biodiversity at EWS-WWF, said: “If a large bird, 45cm in height, weighing 600 to 800g – even if nocturnal and elusive – went unnoticed up to the beginning of the 21st century, what about much smaller species of animals and plants, or under-surveyed taxonomic groups? We have very little doubt that so much more is still to be found in the Hajar Mountains.”
He added: “In spite of a hot and arid climate, a wide variety of resilient and fascinating species thrive in our deserts and mountain areas, not only species resident in the Arabian Peninsula, but also wintering or migrant species on their way between Asia and Africa.”
The Arabian Eagle Owl is commonly seen in areas of Dhofar, Oman, Yemen and in the Asir Mountains of Saudi Arabia.
Known to live in open woodland and rocky hillsides, the bird feeds on large insects, small mammals, smaller birds and reptiles.
To learn more or to volunteer for EWS-WWF’s wildlife programmes, visit: howyoucanhelp.uae.panda.org