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The Spot-Bellied Eagle Owl Looks Like A Creepy Cartoon With Hearts In Its Feathers

Amy Pilkington 30 Jul 2020

When I started looking for information about the spot-bellied eagle owl, which is also called the forest eagle owl, I kept seeing it described as having a “formidable appearance.”

Which, okay, sure, they are a large bird of prey and that’s going to be a little off-putting for anyone upon first seeing them, but “formidable” wouldn’t be the first adjective I’d choose to describe them.

“Creepy cartoon” was my first thought when I saw a pic.

Instagram | @yugayuge

If you told me it was a photo of a puppet from the next season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on Netflix, I’d believe you.

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Found in the forests of southern and southeastern Asia, the spot-bellied eagle owl is 20-30 inches long, which is a pretty big bird.

Instagram | @omlexi

But the bug-eyes, sharp beak, and oddly-cute heart-shaped spots on its belly really make it seem like someone mixed a vicious predator bird with a stuffed animal.

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Oh, and one of the noises they make sounds like a human scream, so let that sit with you for a moment.

In fact, Sri Lankans call the bird an “Ulama”, which means “devil bird” and there is an entire myth associated with the owl’s cry. Things don’t go well for people who hear it.

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Due to their nocturnal nature and habitat of deep, creepy woods, not a lot of research has been done on these owls.

Instagram | @34strange

Though there are some reports of poaching, most threats to the species are in the form of habitat loss to deforestation.

So maybe "formidable" is a good word after all.

h/t: The Owl Pages

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