Alerts

Please be advised the Conservation Carousel will be closed on Tuesday, June 28th, 2022.

Please be advised that our bird aviaries are open!  

Your Toronto Zoo is committed to the health and safety of the animals in our care. We take proactive steps to protect our birds from Avian Influenza which has been confirmed in a wild bird in southern Ontario, and some birds may still be off display.


Please note Splash Island is still closed and will not open until July 1st due to unforeseen delays in construction. Please watch for updates on https://www.torontozoo.com/tz/splash or on our social media pages. Thank you!


Please note the following animals are currently not on display due to various reasons including Avian Bird Flu, and Covid-19 sensitivity:

  • Flamingo, peacock, owl, and bald eagle
  • Some Kids Zoo Animals
  • Cougar
  • Moose
  • Kangaroo walk through (kangaroos are still visible)
  • Axolotl

We apologize for the inconvenience!

Spectacled Owl
Spectacled Owl
Bird

Location at the Zoo:
Americas
Region: Central and South America


Spectacled owl

These large owls have dark heads and backs with buff colored fronts. They have no ear tufts. Spectacled owls have an unmistakable face pattern. Light circles around their yellow eyes give them the appearance of wearing spectacles, thus their name. Juveniles are even more striking, often called white owls by local populations. They have white bodies and heads, dark brown wings and brown to black facial masks. The spectacled owl stands approximately 41 to 48 cm and weighs 590-950 g. As with most raptors the female is larger than the male.

Conservation Status: IUCN




Distribution:

The range of spectacled owls reaches from Mexico, Central America, south to South America as far as Paraguay, south Brazil and northern Argentina.

Habitat:

Spectacled owls occupy a variety of habitats from thick, humid rainforests to open woodlands and mangroves. They have been observed at elevations of up to1,200 m but they predominantly live at lower elevations.

Diet:

In the wild these owls prey on insects, frogs, reptiles, birds, small mammals, even crabs. At times they will tackle skunks and opossums.

Reproduction:

Nesting can occur from January to August. Spectacled owls are cavity nesters seeking out holes in trees. Clutch size is normally two white eggs with incubation lasting about 36 days. Approximately six to eight weeks after hatching fledglings are ready to take their first flight. Both parents continue to take care of their young after they leave the nest. In captivity juveniles take up to five years to acquire adult plumage. It is assumed that this process is sooner in the wild.

Adaptation:

Like all owls, this species has the ability to fly with minimal sound, has extremely acute hearing and the raptors usual tools of grasping talons and beaks adapted for tearing prey.

Threats to Survival:

Owls do not have many predators. Sometimes larger birds of prey will attack them. Eggs and chicks are more vulnerable. The gradual disappearance of tropical forests is an imminent threat. Human caused changes in land use are escalating. Vast forests are being removed for timber and paper products and industrial emissions create pollution. Critical shorelines and riparian zone habitats are expanding human communities and consequently agricultural needs.