Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

A nocturnal species, the Akun eagle-owl emerges at dusk from its daytime roost to hunt (2). Unlike many related owl species of the genus bubo, which are powerful predators of a variety of vertebrate species (2) (4), the Akun eagle owl apparently feeds almost exclusively on insects. Small feet and a relatively weak bill prevent it from tackling larger prey, so the Akun eagle-owl concentrates its hunting activities on beetles, cicadas and locusts, taking them on the wing or plucking them from foliage. Prey is then brought back to a perch and held in the feet, while being nipped it into small pieces with the bill (2). Little is known about the Akun eagle-owl's reproductive biology. In West Africa it appears to lay eggs around the period from November to January, and nestlings have been recorded in Liberia between February and April. Like some other eagle-owl species, the Akun eagle-owl constructs its nest on the ground (2).
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Description

One of the smaller eagle-owl species, the Akun eagle-owl's head and upperparts are predominantly dark to reddish-brown, with a patterning of pale, dusky brown bars on the wings and back, and white markings around the shoulders. The head is distinctively crowned with two large ear tufts, which are dark brown with white spots, while the large, round eyes are pale yellow. The upper breast is light reddish-brown and marked with dark bars, while the rest of the underparts are white, with reddish-brown vermiculations and large blackish spots. In contrast to the adult, the juvenile Akun eagle-owl has a whitish head and body, with reddish-brown barring and brown wings and tail. Although the Akun eagle-owl's usual call is a low, accelerating, cluck-like rattle, when alarmed it produces an unusual quacking sound (2).
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Distribution

Range

Sierra Leone and Liberia to Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and northwestern Angola.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Western and Northern Central Africa: Liberia to E DR Congo to north of Congo River.

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Range

The Akun eagle-owl has a patchy range that extends throughout many of the West African countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea, from Guinea, west to Cameroon and south to Angola. Its range also includes the Central African Republic and northern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (1) (2).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Forest, mainly edges and clearings

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The Akun eagle-owl occupies lowland primary and secondary rainforest, predominantly around forest edges and clearings, but also along the borders of rivers and on forested river islands (2).
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Dispersal

Movements and dispersal

Resident

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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