African Scops Owl peeking with one eye Caption: African Scops Owl peeks with one eye from its perch against the trunk of a tree, Satara Camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D; Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM telephoto zoom; Focal length: 300mm; Shutter speed: 1/250; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO 400

The tiny African Scops Owl (Otus senegalensis) is the only very small owl with ear tufts. Its plumage closely resembles tree bark and it uses this effectively to camouflage itself.

During the day the Scops will often roost in a tree, positioning itself on a branch against the tree trunk where its cryptic coloring makes detection difficult. This camouflage is further enhanced when the owl compresses its feathers, appearing to elongate itself, while raising its ear tufts, closing its eyes, and creating the illusion of a tree stump.

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+Scotch Macaskill