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Rare owl species in zoos

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Jurek7, 12 Feb 2021.

  1. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    This thread was inspired by a picture of Blakiston's fish owl in Leningrad zoo, see below:

    Blakiston's fish owl is spectacular, the world's biggest owl together with the common European Eagle. It is endangered, and will remain so forever, because of its naturally low density and the destruction of East Asian riverine old-growth forests. A perfect candidate for a breeding program. I wonder if Leningrad has more than one, and whether any larger project is planned?

    Owls appear to be overlooked on this forum. They are the perfect birds for zoos: popular to the public, breed well, easily housed, there are already some reintroduction programs (like barn owls in the UK and European eagle owls in Europe) and many species are threatened, especially ones with small natural ranges which will forever be vulnerable. Any zoos working with rare owls?

    https://www.zoochat.com/community/m...n-behalf-of-alexkant.428155/full?d=1545232436
     
  2. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    Burrowing Owls and Spectacled Owls are both kept at a number of AZA institutions.
     
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  3. TheChukaulorian

    TheChukaulorian Well-Known Member

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    Buin Zoo in Chile has Magellanic horned owl, American barn owl and Short-eared owl.
     
  4. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Flamingo Gardens (Closed some years ago) in Buckinghamshire had a single Blakiston’s Fish Owl for many years.
     
  5. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Prague has Pel's fishing owls, one of only two zoos in Europe to have the species along with Bodafon Farm Park. Otherwise, the Scottish Owl Centre has an extremely impressive collection with many rarities.
     
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  6. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Chester had a single Pel’s Fishing Owl for many years.
     
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  7. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    They did not; the bird you are thinking of was the closely-related Vermiculated Fishing Owl :) which was intermittently paired with a male Rufous Fishing Owl until the latter animal died in 1994.
     
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  8. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, my bad. Knew they had two species......
    Cheers
     
  9. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Which are now only held at two European collections - the Scottish Owl Centre and Pairi Daiza. Rufous fishing owls are no longer present in Europe.
     
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  10. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    The accuracy of the ZTL listing at Pairi is very dubious, however, as they have been off-show for well over a decade.
     
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  11. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Oh right - so Scottish Owl Centre is the place to go, better put that on the list...
     
  12. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    For many reasons!
     
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  13. Great Argus

    Great Argus Well-Known Member

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    Burrowing Owl, Spectacled Owl, and American Barn Owl are quite common in captivity.
    Magellanic Horned Owl and Short-eared Owl are relatively rarely kept to my knowledge.
     
  14. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Sacramento Zoo holds Southern White-faced Owl, which I haven't seen or heard of elsewhere.

    Only a handful of American zoos hold Verreaux's Eagle-Owl.

    There is an ambassador Pharaoh Eagle-Owl at Woodland Park Zoo, a species also only held in a small number of European facilities (though it might be common privately, as I've learned that many raptors are).

    A favorite of mine is the Oriental Bay Owl, which unfortunately AFAIK is restricted to the Audubon Zoo (if they're even still there). It is also held in a small number of European institutions and in at least a few Asian facilities.
     
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  15. Great Argus

    Great Argus Well-Known Member

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    Bronx has them, and there's a couple more scattered around. Not many though. I think there's more in Europe.
     
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  16. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

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    Prague keeps a group of Buffy fish owls (Ketupa ketupu). I´ ve just added stock info from last few annual reports to ZTL. Original idea was to concentrate all remaining animals from zoos here, create several pairs, kickstart production of chicks and then hand them down to interested zoos. The group produces a chick every few years, last time was in early 2020, but the numbers are too low to supply other zoos. Honestly, it also doesn´t look like other zoos have serious interest.

    Buffy fish owls are common in nature so they don´t fall under "rare owl species", but I mention this example because I think it ilustrates why establishing Blakinstons breeding program might fail from the start. Lack of interest among European zoos in keeping similar owls in collection and slow breeding strategy of these species (single egg laid each season).
     
    Last edited: 13 Feb 2021
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  17. Rayane

    Rayane Well-Known Member

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    You're right, for example, the African pygmy falcons died a while ago, yet they're still listed on ZTL I believe.

    I have a question for anyone who may know better, is there any real Rufous-legged owl in Europe? Or are they all wrongly identified Chaco owls?
     
  18. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Blakiston's fish owl has big advantages - it is completely cold-hardy, coming from Russian Far East and Hokkaido, Japan. It is endangered, it has a running breeding program in Japan, and it is bigger. It could replace some of European eagle-owls, which are a staple in Europe.
     
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  19. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

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    I am sorry but I can´t see Blakinstons replacing some European eagle-owls. Eagle-owls get into local rescue stations (+50 birds a year in Czechia alone), unreleasable birds need a place in collections, public and private. For small zoos, eagle-owls are easy to obtain, easy to feed and any unwanted offspring can be released into the wild. Larger zoos are not interested in owls enough, not a single owl EEP exists. As long as Japan has a functioning program, I even don´t see a need to start one within Europe.
     
  20. The Cassowary

    The Cassowary Well-Known Member

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    The owls I’ve seen most often in US zoos are barred, great horned, and eastern screech owls, usually as rescued animals that cannot be returned to the wild due to permanent injuries. I don’t know how common these species are in zoos overseas.