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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Distant owl in flight in Tajikistan today...Short-eared? (1 Viewer)


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I took these photos this morning in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The owl was flying away northward, not foraging over the sewage treatment impoundments where I was birding. My initial impression from its floppy flight was Short-eared Owl, which should pass through on migration even though there are no observations in Tajikistan on any database catalogued by gbif.org. However I want to be sure we can safely eliminate Long-eared, especially since I've never seen Long-eared in flight. Comparing to photos in the Macaulay Library, it seems unstreaked enough on the belly and underwings to eliminate LEOW, and other possible species (Ural, Tawny, Eurasian Eagle-Owl) seem to be eliminated based on wrist and wingtip markings. Its flying during the day also seems to point to SEOW. I'd appreciate any feedback!


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My initial impression from its floppy flight was Short-eared Owl
Worrying! - short-eared owls have a distinctly stiff-winged flight - I wouldn't have called it floppy at all myself, but we all have our different perceptions. Most readily identified though as short-eared (rather than long-eared) owl by pic 3 which shows very well the marked concentration of underbody streaking around the head.
Along with the dark tips as said up thread by Grahame, it also has a pale belly. I thought LeOs have a more heavily streaked belly. Is the pale belly no longer thought of as a good identifier if observed in certain light conditions (dusk and overcast according to the Collins 2nd ED by Lars Svensson et al)?

Edit: Sorry Phil, I missed the mention of the pale belly in my first reading.
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