A sign of successful habitat restoration is the appearance of indicator species for the habitat you are restoring. On 2 July guests at our lodge were just about to enjoy dinner when a fantastic Black-banded Owl Ciccaba huhula was found in the garden. The bird showed very well and performed obligingly for the photographers present.
Black-banded Owl is a widespread resident throughout South America, with two subspecies recognised – the nominate C. h. huhula of northern South America, and the darker race C. h. albomarginata, endemic to the Atlantic Forest of south-east Brazil, eastern Paraguay and north-east Argentina.
Tawny-browed Owl Pulsatrix koeniswaldiana and Tropical Screech-Owl Megascops choliba, both forest edge species, are not uncommon in the garden, but this is the first time that a Black-banded Owl, a species of humid forest interiors, has been recorded here, and we are more used to seeing them on our night-birding excursions.
This record is no doubt a result of the maturing restoration surrounding the lodge, which we began planting in 2005. Perhaps in the future Black-banded Owl will become a regular visitor to dinner?