This is Africa's smallest and rarest owl (first discovered in 1965). This tiny wee owl (16-18cm) is restricted to a few islands of woodland in the Usambara hills of Tanzania and in the Dakatcha forest and Arabuko-Sokoke forests of coastal Kenya.
This image is of a hunting bird located (by the tremendous skills of David Ngala) in pitch darkness. Focus was achieved with a small hand-torch and the image was taken with flash (diffused through a handkerchief to prevent startling the bird).
Visit Kenya's Arabuko-Sokoke Forest soon and see this spectacular wee owl before it's too late! If enough people visit this forest then perhaps the Kenyan authorities can be persuaded to protect it more effectively.
A recent survey has unfortunately demonstrated that the population of this wee bird has continued to decline: http://www.africageographic.com/newsroom/index.php/2010/07/30/alarming-drop-in-numbers-of-endangered-african-owl/
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