Large owls
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Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl L: 60–66 cm (24–26") An enormous greyish owl with dark stripes framing the face, a silver-grey bill and large, dark eyes with strange and diagnostic fleshy-pink eyelids . Although this is a widespread resident throughout Kruger, it occurs at low densities, preferring areas with large riverine trees for roosting, but avoiding forest . This is the largest owl in Southern Africa, and the most fearsome winged nocturnal predator in Kruger . No medium-sized nocturnal mammal is safe, with hares, genets and mongooses frequently being taken as prey, as are sleeping monkeys and roosting francolins and guineafowl . Reptiles, insects and other invertebrates also form part of its varied diet . The call is a deep, grunting “unngh-unngh” . Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl often clashes with the almost-as-large Pel’s Fishing-Owl (page 214), the latter frequently coming off second best . Large owls 212 Spotted Eagle-Owl L: 43–47 cm (17–19") A large, grey-brown owl with obvious ear tufts and bright yellow eyes – a combination of features that is unique among Kruger’s owls . This resident owl is common and widespread in many habitat types in the park, and can often be seen on night drives . It feeds on a wide variety of prey that is mostly hunted from a perch . The typical call is a soft, booming “whooo-whooo” or “whoo-are-you” . NIGHT BIRDS 213 ...