The cuddliest owl of all

The cuddliest owl of all

The Chestnut Backed Owlet is an adorable little owl that’s difficult to spot, but a delight to watch!

Surely the inspiration for many stuffed owl toys, this stocky little creature is endemic to Sri Lanka and is most prevalent in the wetlands, hills and pristine forests. If you are lucky enough to spot one of these well-camouflaged birds, you would soon end up mesmerised by its Medusa-like glare. The strange circular head bobble, the chubby little body and the hypnotic, piercing stare have often rendered a bird watcher motionless, at least until the little guy... or girl flies off. Quite frustratingly, it's never easy to tell them apart just by appearance, as both sexes look exactly alike with brown feathers across most of the body and white & black feathers on the chest.

Fun Facts

Unlike its nocturnal cousins, this cute little owl loves to be out in the daylight and does most of its hunting during this time. Despite this, it’s a very hard owl to spot due to its colour and size, especially when it sits quietly in the trees. Its undoing, which bird watchers rely on, is its distinct “kwurr, kwurr” call, which starts off soft but increases in volume quickly, promptly giving away its location.

Story of the Picture

During his stay with Explorer by Eco Team, Kushan was on one of his early morning treks deep inside the Sinharaja Rain Forest, when the distinct call of this little owl drew him to it. The little guy was tucked away and hidden among the branches of a tall Kithul tree, but Kushan was able to get a nice vantage point, resulting in this beautiful shot.

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