Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Contents:

Information:

  • Access

Actions:

      • Send article to Kindle

        To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

        Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

        Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

        A 90-year-old mystery solved: a potentially new species of owl from Príncipe
        Available formats
        ×
        Send article to Dropbox

        To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

        A 90-year-old mystery solved: a potentially new species of owl from Príncipe
        Available formats
        ×
        Send article to Google Drive

        To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

        A 90-year-old mystery solved: a potentially new species of owl from Príncipe
        Available formats
        ×
Export citation

In a recent expedition to a remote rainforest on the island of Príncipe, in the Gulf of Guinea, an apparently undescribed species of scops owl was observed. The owl appears to have vocalizations unlike any known scops owl. The news was first announced at an international conference on island biology in the Azores in July 2016.

Early explorers to Príncipe reported in 1928 that inhabitants of the island indicated the presence of a small and rare owl species; however, despite several expeditions, researchers failed to find it. In 1998 one of us (M. Melo) collected testimonials of local parrot trappers, who described seeing a scops-owl like bird in tree holes in the rainforest, and later reported that in the most remote forests one could hear unknown calls within the frequency range of scops owl calls (Melo & Dallimer, 2009, Malimbus, 31, 109–115).

In July 2016 P. Verbelen & F. Spina organized an expedition to Príncipe in search of the presumed owl. During 5 days in the southern rainforests the unidentified calls, from high in the forest canopy, were heard at various locations. The owl was lured into view, and was photographed and recorded at close range when an individual descended from the canopy in response to playback of its own recorded calls. A formal description of the Príncipe scops owl is now in preparation.

The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe harbour 28 endemic bird species (29 including the new owl species) and have thus been dubbed the African Galapagos and the lost Eden of Africa. The rainforests on the islands are a global priority for biodiversity conservation, especially for birds, and the Natural Park of São Tomé and Príncipe is considered an irreplaceable protected area. In 2016 Fauna & Flora International joined forces with the Príncipe Trust Foundation to enhance the conservation of the island's outstanding biodiversity. A collaboration agreement was signed, a conservation strategy defined and two conservation managers seconded to the Foundation.