As a member of a family blessed with a bird-name, it’s likely birding is in my blood. My grandpa was a birder, and so was Dad. I’m a more casual birder, being a city dweller. My sister-in-law is pretty serious about it, having acquired her name in marriage — converts tend to be more rigorous, right?
So when I see a new bird name pop up as frequently as this Superb Owl has in my email, and on the internets, this week, I tend to want to find out what it is. And I’ve had a devil of a time. There are Horned Owls, Striped Owls, and Great Horned Owls.
I’ve discovered, in my research, as mentions of this Superb Owl rocketed upwards, that there are Barn Owls and Barred Owls, Boreal Owls and Screech Owls. Two Owls are Great: the Gray and the Horned.
But no Superb can I find.
There’s owls with ears, both Short- and Long-. There’s two Northern Owls, the Hawk and the Saw-whet. There’s an Eastern Owl, too: the Screech. Of Screech Owls, there are Western, Balsas, Pacific, Oaxaca, Whiskered and Spotted. There’s Screech Owls that are Tropical, Peruvian, Bare-Shanked, Bearded, Columbian, and Rufescent.
There’s even an all-white Owl, the Snowy.
But I cannot find this Superb Owl.
There are Sooty Owls, both Greater and Lesser. There’s lots of Masked Owls: the Taliabu, Minihassa, Sula Island, Lesser, New Britain, Australian, Tasmanian, and Sulawesi. Enough Masked Owls for a masquerade ball! But no Superb Owl.
There’s a Laughing Owl and a Fearful Owl; a Barking Owl and a Winking Owl. Even a Powerful Owl!
There are Little Owls, and Owlets. Pygmy Owls and Elf Owls. Crested Owls, Maned Owls, and Mottled Owls. Even an Unspotted Owl!
But this Superb Owl eludes me.