Aruba’s Burrowing Owl

Aruba’s Burrowing Owl athene cunicularia arubensis is absolutely one of the most photogenic birds on our island.  This owl is also one of the two endemic subspecies of birds on Aruba.  Our Burrowing Owl has the distinction of being Aruba’s National Symbol and is known as a “Shoco” in the local language of Papiamento.  Unlike the Brown-Throated Parakeet, there are no Burrowing Owls on Bonaire or Curacao.  They are expert diggers.  Equipped with very long legs, they are known to dig their nesting burrows up to 4 meters deep with several exits.  These owls often nest with family groups close by.  They feed in the early morning and late afternoon mostly on insects, lizards and small mammals.  Should you find a Shoco nest they are usually in pairs or a small group of 3 or 4.  Once they see you they will stare a hole through you with those amazing yellow eyes and then don’t be surprised if you get screamed at.