The Southern White-Faced Scops Owl is the quick-change artist of the bird kingdom. It hails from South Africa and is also known as the Transformer Owl, a name derived from the famous animated robot toy.
It is a creature of what could be called counter camouflage; that is, it usually doesn’t blend into the environment and hide, but rather alters the illusion of its appearance so that it appears bigger and fiercer in the face of predators.
This owl can modify its appearance when it senses danger. It can enlarge its body to ward off other owls, or it can make itself appear withered as a tree trunk or branch. When the Transformer Owl wants to hide, it decreases its plumage. If it is feeling aggressive, it raises its wings high and pumps up its plumage to increase its volume.
The Southern White-faced Scops Owl was a relatively unknown creature until an owl named Popo-chan, made a recent appearance in a Japanese video aptly titled: “Transformer Owl.” As shown below, this owl is an incredible adaptor to its environment; a true survivor.
The owl’s range extends from Gabon eastwards to southern Kenya and southwards to Namibia and northern South Africa. It inhabits savanna and dry woodland and is usually seen alone or in pairs.
Watch out for one of these owls and say hello if you see one. Remember, however, that if he or she isn’t in the mood to talk to you, there’s little chance for any conversation.