North American Kestrel

Falco sparverius Order: Falconiformes Family: Falconidae Overview Males are easily distinguished from females by their size (males are smaller) and their slate blue wings (females have brown wings). Kestrels possess a pair of false eye spots, or ocelli, on the nape of their neck. These dark circles are thought to be a form of protective…

Winter 2021

Download Winter 2021 (01-11-2021) newsletter This issue includes: AASAG Committee Updates AASAG Communications Committee Update: 2020 Ambassador Animal Collections Survey Results AASAG Best Practices Initiative Update AASAG Professional Development and Research Initiatives Update Articles Socially Distanced Guest Engagement in the Time of COVID-19 SHOW AND TAIL: To Every Animal, There is a Season (Barn Owl)…

Fall 2020

Download Fall 2021 (09-28-2020) newsletter This issue includes: Articles AMBASSADORS IN ACTION: A Giant Rabbit with a Giant Notion (Domestic Rabbit) SHOW AND TAIL: Extreme Monotremes (Echidna) AMBASSADORS IN ACTION: The Swallow-tailed Kite SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: Frilled Lizard (Frilled Dragon) SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula SHOW AND TAIL: From Bug in a Box to Out…

Eurasian Eagle Owl

Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae (typical owls) This species is the largest of the Eagle Owls, and largest owl in the world.  Overview This impressive bird is the largest species of owl in the world. Many facilities present this animal both on the glove or in free-flight shows, and it is…

Barn Owl

Barn Owl Tyto Alba Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Overview Although often readily available through wildlife rehabilitation sources, barn owls are not a beginner owl, and acquisition of one should only be considered if facility has experienced handlers. Many facilities have noted they are more challenging than other owl species due to their naturally secretive nature….

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl Megascops asio Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Overview While many facilities recommend screech owls as an “easy” or “beginner” owl, it is important to be extra vigilant with these small species that are more easily, albeit unintentionally, dominated. Despite their diminutive size and apparent ease of handling, in order to provide good welfare,…

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae Overview To maximize lifelong welfare of an owl that is going to participate in ambassador animal programs, and as such be exposed to close contact with humans and a variety of stimuli that could otherwise be intimidating or inducive of unavoidable stress, it is recommended to hand-rear…

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl Aegolius acadicus Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Overview While many facilities recommend saw-whet owls as an “easy” or “beginner” owl, it is important to be extra vigilant with these small species that are more easily, albeit unintentionally, dominated. Despite their diminutive size and apparent ease of handling, in order to provide good welfare,…

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae Overview Although often readily available through wildlife rehabilitation sources, previously wild, adult great horned owls can be challenging to manage while maintaining good welfare, even for the most experienced handlers. To maximize lifelong welfare of an owl that is going to participate in ambassador animal programs,…

Hooded Vulture

Hooded Vulture Coragyps atratus Order: Accipitriformes Family: Accipitridae Overview With regard to their availability and suitability as ambassador animals: Hooded vultures are an SSP species so if you are an AZA zoo it is recommended that you first contact the SSP coordinator. With good training, this species can be reliable in both flighted and non-flighted…