New species of owl found in mountains of Oman

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A British ornithologist has helped find a completely new species of owl.

Magnus Robb, 43, formerly from Edinburgh, and his team made their discovery in Oman in the Middle East. The species, new to science, is a little bigger than the tawny owl and has been named the Omani Owl.

Tracked down in a remote mountain region of Oman, the owl was first noticed in March this year when it called while researchers were making sound recordings of another species. Mr Robb, a sound-recordist and author, had not heard anything like it before.

He said: “My colleague Rene Pop and I tried in vain to find the mystery bird again the next night, but it was only on the last night of our trip that we heard it again. We had to leave for the airport with the unseen owl hooting up on a cliff.”

Mr Robb returned a month later, accompanied by colleague Arnoud B van den Berg.This time they tracked the bird down.

Mr Robb said: “What a relief to actually glimpse it perched on a rock, confirming that this was indeed an owl and looked like nothing we had seen before.”