Spotted Owlet

Athene brama

The Spotted Owlet is a small owl which breeds in tropical Asia from India to Southeast Asia. A common resident of open habitats including farmland and human habitation, it has adapted to living in cities. They roost in small groups in the hollows of trees or in cavities in rocks or buildings.
How you doing? This spotted owlet was flashing it's stylish wink! Athene brama,Birds,Geotagged,India,Owl,Spotted Owlet,Winter,nature,raptor,travel,wildlife

Appearance

The Spotted Owlet is small and stocky. The upperparts are grey-brown, heavily spotted with white. The underparts are white, streaked with brown. The facial disc is pale and the iris is yellow. There is a white neckband and supercilium. Sexes are similar. The flight is deeply undulating. The nominate form is darker than the paler forms such as ''indica'' of drier regions.
The welcome and goodbye This little owlet lives in the tree outside the main entrance to my work. When i arrive in the morning, it is sat on the same tree branch every day, the end of its 'day' and the start of mine. Conversely, when i leave, it is on the same branch soaking in the last rays of sun before it's 'day' begins, and as mine ends! :) It always make me smile to see the little chap. I once got scared as i did not see it for a week or so in the run, but it came back to it's usual habits! :) Athene brama,Geotagged,Habbel lake,India,John Rowell,Spotted Owlet,Wildlife,Winter,adhocphotographer,bangalore

Naming

Early workers sometimes treated members of this species group as subspecies of ''Athene noctua''. The two have been separated but they are considered to form a superspecies complex. Several subspecies have been described and about four or five are widely accepted . The five widely recognized subspecies are ''albida'' Koelz, 1950 of western Asia in Iran and Pakistan; ''indica'' of northern India; ''brama'' of southern India which is darker than ''indica''; ''ultra'' Ripley, 1948 of northeastern India is said to have the white spots on mantle much and "higher pitched calls"; and ''pulchra'' Hume, 1873 of Southeast Asia from Myanmar and Thailand extending into Cambodia and Vietnam. The northern and southern Indian populations intergrade and there is no dividing boundary. The northern ''indica'' populations have the upperparts brownish. Size decreases from North to South. The species is not found in Sri Lanka, although birds on the Indian mainland are found even at the tip of Rameshwaram.
The Spotted Owlet  Athene blewitti,Athene brama,Geotagged,Glaucidium radiatum,India,Jungle owlet,Spotted Owlet,Spring,forest owlet

Behavior

This species is nocturnal but is sometimes seen in the day. When disturbed from their daytime site, they bob their head and stare at intruders. It can often be located by the small birds that mob it while it is perched in a tree. It hunts a variety of insects and small vertebrates. In Pakistan they have been found to take mostly insect prey.
In the arid region of Jodhpur, they have been found to take more rodents prior to the breeding season. Bats, toads, small snakes such as ''Ramphotyphlops braminus'' have been noted. They may also take scorpions and molluscs.

The call is a harsh and loud churring and chuckling ''chirurr-chirurr-chirurr'' ending with a ''chirwak-chirwak'' and they call mainly during early dawn or just after sunset.

The breeding season is November to April. Courtship behaviour includes bill grasping, allopreening and ritual feeding. The female may call with the male, bob head and deflect its tail in invitation. The social organization of family groups is not clear and multiple males may copulate with a female and females may attempt pseudocopulation, possibly a kind of displacement behaviour. They nest in cavities often competing with other hole-nesters such as mynas. They may also nest in holes in vertical embankments. The nest may be lined with leaves and feathers or may use the existing lining from a prior occupant. The typical clutch is made up of three or four spherical white eggs and incubation begins with the first laid eggs leading to a wide variation in the size of the chicks. The young are fed initially on insects such as cockroaches and later fed small vertebrate prey such as mice. The chicks gain weight during the early stages but lose weight before fledging. Only one or two chicks may fledge and they leave the nest in about 20–28 days.

The brain has a pineal gland, a feature formerly thought to be absent in the owls....hieroglyph snipped... Birds show variation in the melatonin concentration between day and night. A high melatonin level is associated with sleep and low levels are associated with high alertness and foraging activity. Spotted Owlets however show only a slightly lower melatonin concentration at night with a slight increase in the early afternoon. Other owls such as the Barn Owl show little day-night variation. Seasonal changes in glandular activity have been associated with environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.

A Coccidian parasites, ''Eimeria atheni'' has been described from this species. An ectoparasitic mite, ''Neocheletiella athene'' has been described from a specimen from the Antwerp zoo. Bird lice of the species ''Colpocephalum pectinatum'' are known to be ectoparasites.
Spotted owlets (athene brama) There were total 5 sitting together.. And trust me it was quite an amazing sight.. I waited there for half an hour.. They didn't had any problem with me.. So i thought raising my lens to get a shot.. And as i raised it all went flying in diff direction but on same tree.. And i got only two shots before these two fellow get separated on diff branches.. 
I scared them :-/ Athene brama,Geotagged,India,NikonD5200,Spotted Owlet,Spring,animal,bird,great nature,incredible india,india,maharashtra,nikon,owlets,pune,tamron,wild,wildlife

Habitat

This species is nocturnal but is sometimes seen in the day. When disturbed from their daytime site, they bob their head and stare at intruders. It can often be located by the small birds that mob it while it is perched in a tree. It hunts a variety of insects and small vertebrates. In Pakistan they have been found to take mostly insect prey.
In the arid region of Jodhpur, they have been found to take more rodents prior to the breeding season. Bats, toads, small snakes such as ''Ramphotyphlops braminus'' have been noted. They may also take scorpions and molluscs.

The call is a harsh and loud churring and chuckling ''chirurr-chirurr-chirurr'' ending with a ''chirwak-chirwak'' and they call mainly during early dawn or just after sunset.

The breeding season is November to April. Courtship behaviour includes bill grasping, allopreening and ritual feeding. The female may call with the male, bob head and deflect its tail in invitation. The social organization of family groups is not clear and multiple males may copulate with a female and females may attempt pseudocopulation, possibly a kind of displacement behaviour. They nest in cavities often competing with other hole-nesters such as mynas. They may also nest in holes in vertical embankments. The nest may be lined with leaves and feathers or may use the existing lining from a prior occupant. The typical clutch is made up of three or four spherical white eggs and incubation begins with the first laid eggs leading to a wide variation in the size of the chicks. The young are fed initially on insects such as cockroaches and later fed small vertebrate prey such as mice. The chicks gain weight during the early stages but lose weight before fledging. Only one or two chicks may fledge and they leave the nest in about 20–28 days.

The brain has a pineal gland, a feature formerly thought to be absent in the owls....hieroglyph snipped... Birds show variation in the melatonin concentration between day and night. A high melatonin level is associated with sleep and low levels are associated with high alertness and foraging activity. Spotted Owlets however show only a slightly lower melatonin concentration at night with a slight increase in the early afternoon. Other owls such as the Barn Owl show little day-night variation. Seasonal changes in glandular activity have been associated with environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.

A Coccidian parasites, ''Eimeria atheni'' has been described from this species. An ectoparasitic mite, ''Neocheletiella athene'' has been described from a specimen from the Antwerp zoo. Bird lice of the species ''Colpocephalum pectinatum'' are known to be ectoparasites.
Spotted Owlet, Napping || Bharatpur || Dec 2016.
ƒ/6.3, ISO 800, 1/400s @ 600mm. Athene brama,Spotted Owlet

Cultural

These birds being very familiar to humans especially with their loud calling have been associated with bad omens. The species name ''brama'' is from the French name ''Chouette brame'' and indirectly refers to this owl's Indian habitat by way of homage to Brahma, the Hindu supreme spirit. In Hindu mythology the owl is a vahan of Lakshmi, goddess of wealth.

References:

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Status: Least concern
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassAves
OrderStrigiformes
FamilyStrigidae
GenusAthene
SpeciesA. brama
Photographed in
India
Cambodia