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A DEVIL OF A BIRD WHO PROUDLY WEARS A MYRIAD OF HEARTS ON ITS PLUMAGE!

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AN IMPOSING, MAJESTIC BIRD WITH A LARGE YELLOW BILL, BLACK EYES, AND SWEEPING SIDEWARDS-FACING “HORNS.
MEET THE SPOT-BELLIED EAGLE-OWL

In Sri Lankan folklore, a woman whose child was murdered by her husband went mad and ran off into the jungle to commit suicide. After her death, the gods transformed her into a creature called the ulama, or devil bird, whose horrible, human-sounding wail in the distance is a portent that something terrible is about to happen [source: Dole].

The spot-bellied eagle-owl (Bubo nipalensis), also known as the forest eagle-owl is a large bird of prey with a pale facial disc with no dark rim around it. The eyebrows are whitish. The eyes are dark brown and the eyelids pale grey. The bill is wax-yellow or pale yellow. The bristly feathers of the lores and cheeks are brownish-white with black shafts.

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Ear-tufts are dark brown, with the inner (and rarely, outer) webs barred with fulvous-white. Upperparts are dark brown with black bar-like markings, edged pale buff, and with the feather bases barred fulvous (though this is mostly concealed). The tail is greyish with blackish-brown bars. The throat and underparts are fulvous or fulvous-white, with prominent blackish chevrons which become broad spots on the belly and under tail coverts. The upper breast has a conspicuous, suffused honey-brown pectoral band, marked with dark chevrons.

This is a forest-inhabiting species found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

The Spot-bellied eagle-owl likes to inhabit dense evergreen and moist deciduous forest, dense riparian forest, alluvial hilly country interspersed with tracts of dense forest and Himalayan foothills in the north. They also like montane evergreen and wet temperate forested areas in the southern hills of India and the Himalayas. Tropical rainforest in Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. Ranges from lowlands and foothills to about 1500m. They may also be found up to about 1800m elevation in Sri Lanka.

The largest of Sri Lanka’s owl species, the spot-bellied eagle owl preys on a wide range of creatures, including some fairly large mammals, birds, and reptiles. A glimpse of this formidable creature in the open is all that’s required for the forest to come alive with alarm calls from distressed potential prey. Although they hunt mainly at night, we once witnessed an individual going about it’s business at dusk. Swooping down upon a medium-sized black-naped hare in the undergrowth at Sooriyawewa, it held the animal tight in its sharp talons, spread its huge wings, and took to the air with its prey. The whole encounter was over in a moment.

The breeding season ranges from December-January in Kerala, southern India, to February-March in the Himalayas – though an egg was discovered in June in northern Cachar in far east India. The nest is normally a hollow in an old tree, but this owl may also use a deserted stick nest of a bird of prey, or sometimes the bare soil in a cave or horizontal fissure in a rock scarp. Only one egg is laid, which is white, roundish oval, and averages 61.2 x 49.9mm. The female incubates the egg alone while the male provides the food. The male may cover the clutch without incubating if the female leaves for a short time. The Forest Eagle Owl is said to be very aggressive in defense of its nest or young.

This Owl Is Noted For Its Strange, Human-Sounding Call, It Was Suggested That It Be The Cryptid Known As Ulama Or “Devil Bird” In Sri Lanka.

This bird is listed as ‘Least Concern’ by Birdlife International.

YOU CAN WATCH THIS BIRD RIGHT HERE IN THE VIDEO BELOW:

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