Get my head around owls: people perception and knowledge about owls of Andaman Islands

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Shanmugavel Sureshmarimuthu
Santhanakrishnan Babu
Nagaraj Rajeshkumar
Honnavalli Nagaraj Kumara


Understanding people’s perceptions and knowledge about birds in an endemic bird area is a prerequisite for bird conservation. This is more so in the case of non-charismatic birds such as owls. In this context, we conducted a questionnaire survey about owls in the North Andaman Island between January 2016 and 2018. We interviewed 203 respondents from six market places in North Andaman tehsil, and collected data on their socio-economic status as well as their knowledge on owls. Although all the respondents were familiar with owls, only 9% of them identified all species of owls in the Andaman Islands. Around 98% of respondents were aware of owl diets, either partly or wholly. We found several superstitious beliefs revolving around owls. Two species, Otus sunia and Ninox obscura were associated with negative beliefs while Tyto deroepstorffi was associated with positive beliefs. Generalized linear model with the demographical predictors showed that positive attitudes towards owls is associated with age (older), education (literacy), revenue villages and temporary houses. We conclude that Tyto deroepstorffi had the highest positive values among islanders and hence, may be considered as a focal species to create awareness about owls and to protect other endemic owls of the Andaman Islands. Awareness programmes targeting younger, illiterate people, and land encroachers may help in conservation of cryptic owl species of Andaman.

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Shanmugavel Sureshmarimuthu, Santhanakrishnan Babu, Nagaraj Rajeshkumar and Honnavalli Nagaraj Kumara 2021. Get my head around owls: people perception and knowledge about owls of Andaman Islands. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 13, 12 (Oct. 2021), 19725–19732. DOI:

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