Wow, that's fascinating, Allan. (Not that I have much of a clue when
they get into the genetic terminology.)
I did not know this:
"With the exception of O. flammeolus, New World species have two song
types, including a primary song ("A-song") used for territoriality, and
a secondary song ("B-song") used in courtship and male-female duetting;
the "A-song" typically consists of a long trill or sequence of single
notes in fairly rapid succession, while the "B-song" is relatively short
and often given in a characteristic rhythm. Old World species have only
one song type, which is never a long trill like that of New World
species; this song is used in both aggressive situations and in
courtship during duets with females."
I knew that the New World owls I'm familiar with have two songs, but not
that Old World owls only have one.
That seems very odd. I wonder why New World owls would have evolved
almost universally to have two and Old World did not. (Or perhaps Old
World owls evolved to consolidate two songs into one and New Worlders
stuck with two.)
You'd think if both strategies were equally successful, there'd be a
mixture in both worlds instead of a strict separation.
Any thoughts on why that would be?
On 1/23/2011 9:55 AM, Allan Strong wrote:
> Hi Scott,
> Interestingly, the scientific name for Long-eared Owl is Asio otus! I
> have no idea what it sounds like if you play its song backwards...
> But, as taxonomy is always changing, the E. Screech-Owl's scientific
> name is now Megascops asio. All the New World screech-owls were placed
> in this genus to better illustrate their divergence from the old world
> owls. But, the western Flammulated Owl was left in Otus because of
> uncertainty about its origins.
> For an interesting read about how these types of decisions are made, see:
> On 1/23/2011 8:56 AM, Scott Sainsbury wrote:
>> I got excited about the screech owl that was spied yesterday, and
>> looked up its scientific name -- otus asio.
>> I found this on the web.
>> So, the poor bird is named eared owl, horned owl.
>> Not very creative.