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British ornithologist discovers new owl species

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.

Listen to the owl hoot here:

The species, completely 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 hooted 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: "I was recording a species I know well, when I noticed some faint owl-like hooting in the background with a rhythm I had never heard before.

In May and July the team made two more research trips to look for new individuals, gather photographs and sound recordings, and observe behaviour.

After analysing it, they concluded this was indeed a new owl for science, and the first bird species to be discovered in Arabia for 77 years.

Details of its discovery are being published today in ornithological journal, Dutch Birding

Read more: Omani Owl Diary