Congo Bay-owl, Congo Bay-Owl, Congo Bay Owl, African Bay Owl, Itombwe Owl
Phodilus prigoginei by Carel Brest van Kempen(8 in. x 8 in. | acrylic on canvas | ID#4048)
Family: TYTONIDAE | Conservation Status: Endangered | Population Trend: decreasing
This is another bird first collected by Alexandre Prigogine in the Belgian Congo's Intombwe Forest. It was described by Henri Schouteden, who placed it in the Asian bay owl genus Phodilus, perhaps because of its small size and the elongated ruff feathers along the tops of the African bird's facial discs and maybe also because the region where it was found was noted at the time for being home to several species more closely related to Asian birds than African ones. For forty-five years, this bird, known as the Congo Bay Owl, was not seen again, until 1996, when one was caught in a mist nest not far from where Prigogine collected the type specimen in 1951. It seems clear that this owl shares much more in common with the barn owls of the genus Tyto, and some experts now place it there. It remains one of the most mysterious and poorly understood owls.
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