Tuesday, November 29

Sri Lanka bay owl

   ›      ›   Sri Lanka bay owl - Phodilus assimilis.

The Sri Lanka bay owl (Phodilus assimilis), a strictly nocturnal owl, belongs to the family of barn owls, Tytonidae. These owl species are distributed in South India and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka bay owl was considered as a subspecies of P. badius (Oriental bay owl). There are two recognized subspecies of these birds.

Sri Lanka bay owl - Overview

  • Scientific name: Phodilus assimilis
  • Species author: Hume, 1877
  • Synonyms: Phodilus assimilis A. O. Hume, 1877
  • Family: Tytonidae › Strigiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Common Name: Sri Lanka bay owl
  • Other languages: Chinese: 斯里兰卡栗鸮, French: Phodile de Ceylan, German: Ceylonmaskeneule, Spanish: Lechuza cornuda de Ceilán, Russian: Цейлонская масковая сипуха, Japanese: Sri Lanka Bay-Owl
  • Other names: Ceylon Bay-owl
  • Distribution: southern India, Sri Lanka
  • Diet and feeding habits: large insects, small vertebrates
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
Phodilus assimilis is closely related to Phodilus badius. The two recognized subspecies of Phodilus assimilis are: Phodilus assimilis ripleyi Hussain & Reza Khan, 1978 and Phodilus assimilis assimilis A. O. Hume, 1877.


Appearance, physical description and identification

The Sri Lanka bay owl (Phodilus assimilis) is a medium-sized nocturnal bird measuring about 25 to 30 cm in length and weighing around 230 grams. It looks bulky and has short legs, tail and wings. The facial disc is heart shaped. The upperparts are dark brown and spotted. The lower parts are buff with scattered black spotting. Its call is a quavering multi-element whistling sound.
Birds of India - Sri Lanka bay owl - Phodilus assimilis
Indian birds - Image of Sri Lanka bay owl - Phodilus assimilis by Dr.abhilash.ak
Indian birds - Image of Sri Lanka bay owl - Phodilus assimilis
Birds of India - Sri Lanka bay owl - Phodilus assimilis

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These owl species are distributed in South India and Sri Lanka. In India, the subspecies P. a. ripleyi occur in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They are distributed in the Western Ghats spanning Karnataka State, Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Anamalai Hills and Nelliyampathy Hills. In Sri Lanka the subspecies P. a. assimilis occur in the central and southern region.

Ecosystem and habitat

The owl species inhabit humid evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, wooded hillsides, deciduous forests, mangrove forests and degraded forests. They occur from lowlands to 1000 meter elevations.

Diet and feeding habits

The diet of the Sri Lanka bay owl is large insects and small vertebrates.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these species is not known.

Migration and movement patterns

These owl species are mostly non-migratory resident birds. Post breeding dispersal of juveniles takes place. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Conservation status and concerns

The global population size of the Sri Lanka bay owl (Phodilus assimilis) has not been quantified. The overall population size is considered to be stable. Their generation length is 5.9 years. These owl species have large range and population. The habitat loss due to deforestation and logging is threatening the survival of these species.

The Sri Lanka bay owl does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable neither under the population trend criterion nor under the population size criterion. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the Sri Lanka bay owl (Phodilus assimilis) and has listed it as of "Least Concern". The CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) has listed these owls in Appendix II.


Taxonomy and scientific classification of Phodilus assimilis
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Strigiformes
Family:Tytonidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Phodilus
Species:P. assimilis
Binomial name:Phodilus assimilis
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ceylon_Bay_Owl_Abhilash_Arjunan.jpg
Image author: Dr.abhilash.ak | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
2.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ceylon_Bay_Owl2_Abhilash_Arjunan.jpg
Image author: Dr.abhilash.ak | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
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