Species group: Owls
Other common names: Peruvian Striped Owl, Mexican Striped Owl
Scientific name: Asio clamator
The Striped Owl is a striking species found in Mexico, Central, and South America. The legal export of wild owls is closed from most American countries, but captive-bred Striped Owls imprinted on humans are sometimes offered to the pet market. They can only be recommended to experts who are knowledgeable about how to handle potentially dangerous birds of prey that demand a strict diet of whole animal items, especially rodents.
An owl that is never found in closed forests, the Striped's range may be expanding as the forests are cleared for agriculture and logging. Until recently, it was placed in a different genus, so you may find information under the older name Pseudoscops clamator. There are at least four subspecies of this poorly studied owl, with the Mexican and Central American birds said to run a little smaller.
A medium-sized white-faced owl with dark eyes and long ear tufts, the Striped Owl is named for the dark vertical streaks on its buffy breast. Females average substantially larger.
Male: 320 - 490 grams (11 - 17 oz.)
Female: 400 - 550 grams (14 - 19 oz.)
Male: 33 - 38 centimeters (13 - 15 in.)
Female: 40 - 57 centimeters (16 - 22 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
Despite being considered quite common in the wild in open habitat, Striped Owls are not seen as often as you'd think. Some reports describe them as a mostly nocturnal species that can sit still for hours to avoid being noticed by potential prey. Others describe them as crespuscular species who can be somewhat active in daylight. Owners have reported that this owl can be very vocal at night, something to keep in mind if you have near neighbors. Some people have attempted to train their owls to fly to the arm for public performances, with somewhat mixed results.
Striped Owls are birds of prey with unusually large feet who won't hesitate to take a free meal, so they need their own aviary separate from your other birds. Unless you have a rescue bird that's unable to fly, you will also need to allow for plenty of space to let your owl exercise by flying. One expert suggested that a twenty foot flight is the bare minimum. Agreed, it's frustrating when the bird seems to spend much of the day sitting very, very still.
While captive-bred owls don't demand live food, they still require whole food prey items for their digestive system to work properly. Striped Owls occasionally take birds or insects, but they much prefer rodents and small mammals. You can't maintain them on day-old chicks and mealworms. You will need a reliable supply of whole, clean rodents including rats, mice, and small feeder rabbits.
Written by Elaine Radford