Forest owlets are one of the most endangered and cryptic bird species in India. These birds are found only in India and nowhere else. Though the bird was first spotted in the 1880s, for almost a little over a century, the bird was not discussed by anyone. Forest owlets looked similar to spotted owlets (a more commonly seen species), and hence were often mistaken for them. After 113 years, the species was rediscovered by Pamela Rassmussen from the Smithsonian Institute. After her team spotted these birds in India, more researchers started working on forest owlets. Two research papers, one relating to the genetic research on these owlet species, and two, relating the bird’s diversification to ancient climatic change were significant in understanding the species in a better way. For the first time, genetic research was done for the owlet species in India, which led to new information that was unknown earlier.
In this episode, Sharada Balasubramanian talks to various researchers about the Conundrums of the forest owlet.