Verreaux’s eagle-owl

In this blog, we will explore some of the owl species that grace the Luangwa wilderness, from the charismatic African Scops Owl to the majestic Verreaux’s Eagle Owl.

Join us as we uncover the unique characteristics and fascinating facts about these captivating creatures.

African Scops Owl: A Petite Delight

The African Scops Owl (Otus senegalensis) may be small in size, but it possesses a mighty presence in the night.

With it’s distinct tufted ears and mesmerizing orange eyes, this little owl charms its way into our hearts. It’s soft, melodic trill echoes through the African bush, filling the air with a symphony of nature’s nocturnal sounds.

Image credit: Shayne Hodges

If you come across an African Scops Owl with raised ear tufts, it is advisable to keep your distance, as this behavior suggests that the bird is agitated or disturbed” – Yoram, guide at Shenton Safaris

Verreaux’s Eagle Owl: The Magnificent Giant

As the largest owl in Africa, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl (Bubo lacteus) commands attention with it’s impressive size and distinctive pink eyelids.

With a wingspan that can reach up to 1.5 meters, this magnificent hunter has the ability to take down prey as large as young warthogs. It’s deep grunts and raspy calls add an extra touch of majesty to the night symphony of South Luangwa.

Pearl-spotted Owlet: The Jewel of the Night

The Pearl-spotted Owlet (Glaucidium perlatum) enchants with it’s striking appearance and distinctive “too-pu” call. Sporting a coat adorned with intricate patterns resembling pearls, this small owl proves that beauty comes in all sizes.

With its distinctive ‘false face’ pattern, the Pearl-spotted Owlet gives the impression of having eyes at the back of its head. This clever adaptation helps deter predators and airborne threats, adding to it’s survival strategies.” – Patrick, Senior Guide at Shenton Safaris.

Spotted Eagle-Owl: The Feathered Guardian

The Spotted Eagle-Owl (Bubo africanus) mesmerizes with it’s captivating yellow eyes and bold spotted plumage.

Often found roosting on tree branches or perched atop rocky outcrops, this owl species acts as a vigilant guardian of South Luangwa’s landscapes. It’s deep hooting calls resonate through the night, creating an atmosphere of untamed beauty.

White-faced Owl: A Master of Disguise

The White-faced Owl (Ptilopsis granti) adds an element of mystery to South Luangwa’s nocturnal world.

With it’s intricate feather patterns and distinct white face, this owl perfectly camouflages itself among the tree branches. It’s haunting call carries through the night, whispering tales of hidden wonders within the park.

Pel’s Fishing Owl: A Master of Rivers

The Pel’s Fishing Owl (Scotopelia peli) is a true emblem of South Luangwa’s waterways.

With it’s striking orange eyes and formidable talons, this owl is perfectly adapted to its riverine habitat. Sought-after and captivating, catching a glimpse of a Pel’s Fishing Owl perched along the riverbanks is a thrilling experience and a testament to the park’s incredible biodiversity.

One of the prime spots to observe the Pel’s Fishing Owl is near Kaingo Junction, just before reaching Guinea Fowl Plain. These magnificent creatures are often sighted during the evening hours and at sunset. Keep a keen eye for them, as they tend to perch on low branches close to the water’s edge.” – Philemon, guide at Shenton Safaris.

If you’re interested in finding out more information about the bird life in Zambia, visit BirdWatch Zambia for more information.

We hope this blog has ignited your curiosity and appreciation for these incredible creatures and their place within the park's diverse ecosystem.

Email us at and start planning your perfect safari. 

About Megan Woolley

Megan Woolley has written 23 post in this blog.