A completely new species of owl to science has been discovered in a remote mountain range in Oman. The bird is being named the Omani Owl, as a tribute to Oman and its people, and details of its discovery are being published today in Dutch Birding.
The owl was first noticed in March 2013 when it called while researchers were making sound recordings of another species. Sound-recordist and author Magnus Robb heard a call so unlike anything he knew that adrenalin immediately started to rush through his veins. However, he and colleague René Pop failed to find the mystery bird again the next night and it was only on the last night of their trip that they heard it again, just before they had to leave for the airport!
Robb and his team are currently writing their fifth title in the Sound Approach series aptly named ’Undiscovered Owls’. So a month later, he was back in the mountains, this time accompanied by colleague Arnoud B van den Berg. Although the owl inhabits vertical terrain and its voice is difficult to hear, they eventually heard one, and were relieved to actually glimpse it perched on a rock, confirming that it was indeed an owl, and one that didn't resemble any species they had seen before.
In May and July the Sound Approach team made two more research trips to look for new individuals, gather photographs and sound recordings, and observe behaviour. After critical analysis, they are thrilled to conclude this is indeed a new owl for science, and the first bird species to be discovered in Arabia for 77 years!
The Sound Approach team plans to continue its studies of the owl in co-operation with the Omani nature conservation authorities.
For the full story, please visit the http://soundapproach.co.uk/omani-owl-diary-of-discovery