Spotted Eagle Owl

We were returning from the far side of the Madikwe Game Reserve, after dark, after a long drive to see the wild dogs. As we neared our lodge the ranger shone his light on this owl – a Great Eagle Owl, he said.

I checked the SASOL Birds of South Africa yesterday, after processing this photo, and (bird expert that I am not) thought it was a Spotted Eagle Owl, not a Great – though still great to observe, in the darkness, staring down at us with those huge yellow eyes.

So I posted the image on the BirdLife South Africa FaceBook page, with a request for help with identification.

‘Definitely a Spotty,’ was the birding consensus.

‘A blinded owl,’ said some wag.

Point taken.

Eagle Owl