New species of scops owl found in Indonesia

Owl“Each currently recognized species of scops owl in Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines has a single territorial song type,” the researchers explained.

“The sole species of scops owl known from Lombok has long been assigned to the widespread Moluccan Scops Owl Otus magicus on the basis of superficial similarities in morphology.”

The new species’ songs “consist of a single whistle without overtones, 0.25–0.35 sec in duration, with more or less constant pitch at 1000 Hz,” the researchers in the online Journal Plos One, “All recordings from Lombok differed clearly from those of the widespread Otus magicus, which has a distinctive Raven-like croak.”

“Ironically, the first clues that the Lombok Otus song differs from that of Otus magicus albiventris were already present in the original report on A. Everett’s specimens. Hartert, who reported on Everett’s field work, noted that ”[t]he cry is a clear but not very loud ‘pwok,’ like that of [O.lempiji, but somewhat different in tone”

Because of the differences in the birds’ songs the researchers decided to take a much closer look at them, finding that the new species’ size and shape differed quite markedly from known species, thus leading them to conclude, “The scops owls on Lombok represent a previously undescribed species, which we name: Otus jolandae.”