Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Data Deficient

Maned Owl (Jubula lettii)

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Taxonomy

French: Duc à crinière German: Mähneneule Spanish: Búho de crin
Taxonomy:

Bubo letti

Büttikofer

, 1889,

Passy District, Liberia

.

Affinities uncertain. Sometimes suggested that genus be merged with Neotropical Lophostrix; superficial similarities in appearance and similar ecology, however, probably due to convergent evolution. Monotypic.

Distribution:

Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana; and patchily from S Cameroon and N Gabon S to R Congo and E to NC & EC DRCongo#R.

Descriptive notes

34–40 cm#R; 1 male 183 g#R. Highly distinctive. Elongated crown and nape feathers forming brown and white “mane”, merging with long, bushy brown-and-white ear tufts#R; rufous facial disc edged in brown, with contrasting white forehead, eyebrows and lores; mantle and back chestnut, scapulars with black-edged whitish outer webs; wing coverts brown-rufous with creamy and dark vermiculations; flight feathers and tail barred rufous and buff; throat white; upper breast light rufous, fading to buff or whitish on belly, with dusky brown streaks; tarsus feathered; irides deep yellow to orange-yellow; cere yellowish-green#R; bill ivory to pale yellow; toes yellow with some grey patches on upper surface#R. Sexes similar, female darker and more heavily patterned. Juvenile head and neck almost white, rest washed buff with faint rufous bars.

Drawing by Tim Worfolk
Descriptive notes:

34–40 cm#R; 1 male 183 g#R. Highly distinctive. Elongated crown and nape feathers forming brown and white “mane”, merging with long, bushy brown-and-white ear tufts#R; rufous facial disc edged in brown, with contrasting white forehead, eyebrows and lores; mantle and back chestnut, scapulars with black-edged whitish outer webs; wing coverts brown-rufous with creamy and dark vermiculations; flight feathers and tail barred rufous and buff; throat white; upper breast light rufous, fading to buff or whitish on belly, with dusky brown streaks; tarsus feathered; irides deep yellow to orange-yellow; cere yellowish-green#R; bill ivory to pale yellow; toes yellow with some grey patches on upper surface#R. Sexes similar, female darker and more heavily patterned. Juvenile head and neck almost white, rest washed buff with faint rufous bars.

Voice

Unknown. Vocalizations described in a previous paper#R now thought to be based on misidentification of Scotopelia bouvieri#R#R.

Habitat

Lowland rainforest and gallery forest, especially with abundant creepers; reportedly associated with old forest, but little known. Thought to prefer tall closed-canopy rainforest, rather than semi-evergreen, open-canopy forest; apparently has never been recorded outside of forested habitat#R#R. Often roosts in creepers.

Food and feeding

Little information. Insects such as grasshoppers and beetles possibly most important; the remains of a young bird were found in a juvenile owl#R. Weak feet and bill suggest incapable of capturing larger vertebrate prey, but frequently mobbed by passerines, which might indicate birds are taken more often than previously appreciated. The stomach of the sole specimen from Ghana, taken 18 Feb 1934, contained vegetable matter that resembled “squashed green peas”#R. Strictly nocturnal; emerges at dusk.

Breeding

Virtually unstudied. Pair with full-grown young observed at Mt Nimba, in Liberia, in third week Feb; observations in DRCongo suggest laying during Mar–May; fledglings seen in late Dec and Jan in Cameroon and Gabon. Clutch size reported to be 3–4 eggs, incubation period c. 28 days, nestling period 33 days#R, but nest apparently undescribed#R, so unclear where these data were collected. No other details known.

Movements

Resident; presumed sedentary#R.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Data Deficient. CITES II. Very poorly known; status difficult to assess owing to species’ secretive and nocturnal habits, and because of scant information on its biology. Currently known from only 14 sites#R. Reported as very scarce in Ghana (one record from 1934)#R, and rare in Liberia, but probably mainly overlooked; only few Cameroon records; no meaningful data from rest of range. Density estimated at one pair/1–1·5 km² of forest, so possibly more common than records suggest. Never recorded outside forest or forest clearings; possibly at some risk from habitat loss through harvesting of timber.

Recommended citation

Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P., Wood, K.L., Sharpe, C.J. & Marks, J.S. (2018). Maned Owl (Jubula lettii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/55051 on 20 January 2018).