Backyard Birds

Rare Peninsular Bay Owl Sighting at Parambikulam, India


By D Daniel Raj

Owl InformationIndex of Owl SpeciesPhotos of Various Owl Species for Identification


In 2009, a rare bird species, Peninsular Bay Owl, was spotted at the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, nearly 60 km from the Indian city of Coimbatore (also known as Kovai) located in western India.

Biologically called ‘phodilus badius ripley’, this bird can be seen in wet evergreen forests.

It was spotted only twice earlier – one in 1978 at Nelliampathy, adjacent to Parambikulam sanctuary, and the other at Thattekad Bird Sanctuary at Ernakulam in Kerala in 1995, it is claimed.

The recent photograph of the bird, which was perhaps the third-ever since the bird was spotted for the first time, was taken by Sashi, an eco-tour coordinator at the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, during one of his treks in the sanctuary in daylight.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, Sashi said it was the rarest of the birds, endemic, as well as an endangered species among the over 266 bird species seen at Parambikulam.

“The photograph now taken will be kept for records here. Also, it will be sent to the Bombay Natural History Society,” he said, and added that there were only two specimens of the bird available and there was also no detailed record of it.

Describing the bird, he said,

“It is a small, dainty, chestnut bay or chocolate brown owl with short ear-like tufts. Its forehead and facial disc are vinous pink surrounded by white ruff.”

He added,

“actually, I was in search of a few other birds, when I accidentally spotted it. When I freeze-framed it many times, it started to open its eyes partially as it could have felt some disturbance.”

It would be of much interest to bird watchers, he said.

Article submitted by Sashi, – n sasindrbabu babu


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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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