The Pel's Fishing Owl is the second largest owl in Africa and for twitchers and non-twitchers this species is certainly a lifer to tick off the list! This magnificent specimen hunts at night so in the day they will hide in the canopies of large riverine forests making the Okavango Delta the perfect habitat for them – On top of the Owl being very rare, this elusive behaviour also makes them difficult to spot!
One of only three fishing owls in the world and aptly named for it, the Pels is extremely well adapted to an aquatic environment; unlike most other owls, the owl has scales underneath its feet to help grip slippery fish during flight and interestingly enough their wings are adapted to allow for minimal sound while flying making them precise and stealthy hunters.
If you are lucky enough to hear them calling, the adults make a very distinctive boom-like echo which sounds like hu-hu-hu and the juvenile owls make a very spooky screeching call, one of the airier night sounds you will hear in the delta.
Doctor, professional guide at Kanana, is an expert at spotting the rufous coloured plumage and black eyes of the Pels Fishing Owl through the canopy of Jackalberry trees at a place called “Mokuchum Alley" on the concession. He was on drive recently when he came across this beautiful find perched peacefully on a tree branch in this exact area!