The Philippine Hawk-Owl (Ninox philippensis) is a species of owl in the Strigidae family. It is endemic to the Philippines.
The Philippine Hawk-Owl is an earless species. The males and females look much alike. The subspecies differ in size and pattern on the bottom side. N. p. reyi and N. p. spilonota are the biggest and N. p. philippensis, N. p. spilocephala and N. p. mindorensis the smallest. The pattern on the bottom side of N. p. reyi, N. p. spilonota and N. p. mindorensis is checked. The pattern on all the other subspecies is striped.
N. p. philippensis has a white spot, the eyes and the beak and a white moustache forming an x-shape on the head. The upper parts of all subspecies are brown and the wings are covered with oval shaped white spots. The tail is dark brown with narrow white stripes. The sides of the head are brown, the chin is of a whitish colour, while the rest of the bottom side is pale white with wide brown stripes (which are more prominent on the belly). The bottom side of the tail is white. The chequered subspecies have these chequered patterns on the bottom side, on the head, the upper parts of the back and the wings. The paws are halfway covered with feathers. The beak is olive colored. The paws are pale yellow.
This species grows (including the tail) to a length of 21 to 26,5 cm and has a wingspan of 16,5 to 20,5 cm.
Systematics and taxonomy
There are eight known subspecies:
- Ninox philippensis centralis (Bohol, Boracay, Carabao, Guimaras, Negros, Panay, Semirara and Siquijor)
- Ninox philippensis mindorensis (Mindoro)
- Ninox philippensis philippensis (Biliran, Buad, Catanduanes, Leyte, Luzon, Marinduque, Polillo and Samar)
- Ninox philippensis proxima (Masbate)
- Ninox philippensis reyi (Bongao, Jolo, Sanga Sanga, Siasi, Sibutu and Tawi-Tawi)
- Ninox philippensis spilocephala (Basilan, Dinagat, Mindanao and Siargao)
- Ninox philippensis spilonota (Camiguin, Cebu, Sibuyan and Tablas)
- Ninox philippensis ticaoensis (Ticao)
Local this bird is known as kuwago, like other large owls.
The Philippine Hawk-Owl can be found in forest areas up to 1800 metres, although they mostly reside in areas below 1000 metres above sea level. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. This species mates around February. The nests can be found in hollow trees.