On Friday, October 4, 2013, news broke that a probable new owl species had been discovered in Oman – specifically the Al Hajar Mountain region in the northeastern part of the country. Magnus Robb, the man who first heard the owl, originally detected its strange, three-parted hoot in a sound recording.
From a friend’s perch in Holland, Magnus sat down with us to share a first-hand account of how he discovered several individuals of this rare, quiet, and elusive bird. He also discusses his team’s follow-up attempts to obtain more evidence, including photographs and better recordings.
Many birdwatchers will soon want to twitch this owl. Magnus tells us what he thinks of that.
What’s next for the owl? First, the appropriate taxonomic authorities (IOU – the International Ornithological Union – and BirdLife International) will examine the evidence and if a consensus is reached, the owl will officially become a species. If it cannot, then more evidence will attempt to be gained to settle the question beyond scientific reproach.
Magnus is a birder and a sound recordist for The Sound Approach, a team dedicated to documenting bird songs, especially in the western Palearctic region. He was in Oman making recordings for an upcoming book called “Undiscovered Owls.” Funny, that.
Total time: 29 minutes.
For more information:
- Team Diary
- Details of the find were published Friday in the journal Dutch Birding.
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