Black-banded owl: Baby owl described as a 'stripy humbug' amid hopes for the endangered species

An 11-week old baby owl named Rio has been described as a ‘stripy humbug’ amid hopes for the endangered species.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 3:04 pm

Rio is a baby black-banded owl and has mesmerising black and white stripes on her feathers.

The rare markings allow the owls to stay camouflaged in trees before they come out at night to hunt.

She was bred in Gloucestershire and born on January, 25, when she was then moved to The Scottish Owl Centre in Bathgate, West Lothian.

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Eleven-week-old Rio the Black-banded Owl at The Scottish Owl Centre, West Lothian.

The centre now has three females - amid hopes to breed more of the species.

Head keeper Trystan Williams, 49, said: "She looks like a stripy humbug.

"It's a very rare species, no one knows exactly how many there are.

"If people continue to cut and burn the trees down there will be 25 per cent less of them in 30 years.”

Eleven-week-old Rio the Black-banded Owl at The Scottish Owl Centre, West Lothian.

The species originally comes from South America but has become endangered due to their habitat, the Amazon rainforest, disappearing.

There are about 10,000 member species of the owl left, but that number is dwindling each day.

Mr Williams continued: “They are very rare in zoos, only one zoo in South America has them.

"In Britain, there is only one breeding pair, so we are very lucky to have three girls here.”

Mr Williams, who stays on-site to care for the owls, is hoping to breed more of the species but is concerned about the lack of males.

He said: "We're hoping to breed more of them, but the problem is there are no boys.

"The only male in the UK is their dad."

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