This is a truly odd animal video! Not only is it in Japanese (which is odd if you're an American who doesn't understand Japanese, like me) but it shows an owl exhibiting some fascinating behavior. Check it out and be sure to watch the whole thing to see the strangest stuff. Then see my explanations below.
How cool was that? While I'm not certain what the exact species of owl this is (while it looks kind of like a North American screech owl, I think it's a scops owls based on pictures on the Owl Pages) I know exactly what this little "Transformer owl" is doing.
You might not know that small owl species are sometimes on the menu for larger owl species. When faced with the barn owl, which is only slightly larger than itself, the Transformer owl puffs itself up to look as big as possible in an effort to scare the barn owl away.
When faced with the second, much larger owl, however, it does the exact opposite. By elongating its body, flattening its feathers and squinting its eyes, this little owl mimics a dead branch in the hopes of camouflaging itself from the larger bird. It's a pretty amazing and odd-looking adaption, wouldn't you agree?
(And in case you're not a child of the '80s and don't get the Transformers reference, this should make it all clear.)
Thanks go to Jade Beinvenu for sending me the link to this video.
UPDATE 5/13/10: Thanks to reader Raymond Ho's research, it looks like the owl is Ptilopsis leucotis, which goes by the common names northern white-faced or white-faced scops owl.
Love Owls? Check out this great owl content from Animal Planet: