Hoot are you looking at? Tiny own stares down huge 'Darth Vader' rival at Bathgate bird of prey centre

A rare baby owl has been born - which is the spitting image of Darth Vader from Star Wars.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 12:30 pm

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The black-feathered snowy owl has bright yellow eyes but delighted keepers at who bred the rare creature described it as looking like the Star Wars villain.

It is one month old and was born at the same time as a Common Scops owl, which is the size of a fizzy drink can and already fully grown as six-inches tall.

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Little Groot is taken aback at the Snowy owlet's resemblance to Darth Vader
Little Groot is taken aback at the Snowy owlet's resemblance to Darth Vader

The Scops owl has been named Groot, but the Snowy owl does not have a name.

Both were bred at the Scottish Owl Centre in Bathgate, West Lothian, and are hoped to be rehomed in the coming weeks.

The birds are classed as vulnerable species, although the threats the species faces are different.

The Common Scops owl is designed to blend in with twigs from any predators in its natural habitat of woodland areas, while the Snowy owl has big grey feathers which allow it to blend into its natural habitat of the Arctic.

Head keeper Trystan Williams, 49, said: "The Snowy owls are one of the larger owls in the world.

"They need to be big to deal with the cold weather. "It resembles Darth Vader's mask it's been said, while the Scops owls is a very small bird.

"Groot's only a month old, but he's already at full size.

"They need to be small to be able to move away from danger very quickly, as they get attacked by other predators often. They are camouflaged to look like part of a tree, like a little twig."

He added: "The Snowy owl is grey instead of white, so they look like little rocks in the nest to hide from predators. There's no other of either species in Britain.

"Both are declining. "The Snowy owl used to be common but it's now classed as vulnerable one step away from endangered - possibly due to climate change. It could also be from people drilling for oil in the Arctic. Scops owls are threatened by the use of pesticides.

"Both could be going in the next few weeks if we find them suitable homes."

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