Owl Naming Programme

South Africa has 11 official languages and of these, many owl names are not recognized or have a direct translation. Owlproject.org decided to put together this campaign in which school children could discuss and name the 12 different species of owls found in South Africa in various languages.

In the years that we have run programmes in schools, we have learned that there are no unique names for each of the owls in languages such as isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. We learned that the Pedi name for all these owl species is Lerubise and the Zulu name for all these owls is isiKhova.

Students discussing the name of the Spotted Eagle Owl (Bubo africanus).

 
This was not helpful to them when we were teaching children about owls. This is a learner-led initiative that we have been running since 2012. To date, we now have 13 schools that cover all the provinces of South Africa. So far, Children from Marlboro Secondary School and Zenzeleni participate by going through a fact sheet of the birds, including their pictures and an owl naming guideline. The children have come up with names that they think are suitable.

 

All of the names have been given to all the 12 species of owls found in South Africa in various languages.

 

Barn Owl (Tyto alba) in Sesotho/Sepedi, Zulu, Tsonga and Xhosa.

 

 

Barn owl in Sesotho/Sepedi: Tšoeu Tiya.

 

 
Pronounced: Tsh- we-wu-tee-ya.

 

Barn Owl in Zulu: Isikhova Esinamabala amnyama Ngaphambili.

 

 

Pronounced: E-si-co-vaa-Ee-si-na-ma ba-la-aa-mm-nyaa-maa-nga-p-ha-m-bi-li.

 

Barn Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova Esimhlophe esinamachokoza amyama.

 

 

Pronounced: E-si-co-va-Ee-si-m-t-hl-lo-p-he-E-si-na-ma-Choo-co-za-a-mm-nya-ma.

 

Barn Owl in Tsonga: Xhikhovha Xale-nhlangasini.

 

 

Pronounced: Shi-co-va-Sha-le-cla-ga-see-nee.

 

Spotted Eagle Owl(Bubo africanus) in Sesotho, Zulu, Tsonga and Xhosa.

  

Spotted Eagle Owl in SeSotho/ Sepedi: Botlenyana.
 

 
Pronounced: Boo-hlee-nyaa-na.

 

Spotted Eagle Owl in Zulu: Isikhova Esinamabala-bala.

 

Pronounced: E-si-co-vaa-Ee-si-na-ma-ba-la-ba-la.

 

Spotted Eagle Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova Sokhozi Esimibala-bala.

 
Pronounced: E-si-co-va so-co-zi-E-si-mi-ba-la-ba-la.

 

Spotted Eagle Owl in Tsonga: Xhikhovha-gama xaswitwavitwavi.
 

 
Pronounced: Shi-co-va-ga-ma-Sha-swee-twa-vee-twa-vee.

 

Pearl Spotted Owl (Glaucidium perlatum) in Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa and Tsonga.

Pearl Spotted Owl in SeSotho/ Sepedi: Sephookonyana.

Pronounced: Se-Phoo-Ko-nya-na.

 
 

Pearl Spotted Owl in Zulu: Isikhova Esincane.

Pronounced: E-si-co-vaa-Ee-si-n- ca-ne.

 
 

Pearl Spotted Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova Esinamachokoza Amhlophe Esincinci.


Pronounced: E-si-co-va E-si-na-ma-choo-co-za Aa-mu-tlo-phe Ee-Si-nx'i-nx'i.

 


Pearl Spotted Owl in Tsonga: Xikhovhana xamitwavitwavi.


Pronounced: Shi-n-co-va-na-Sha-mi-twa-vee-twa-vee.

 

African Grass Owl (Tyto capensis)in Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa and Tsonga.

 
 

African Grass Owl in SeSotho/Sepedi: Sephooko Sa Jwang.


Pronounced: Se-Phoo-Ko-Sa-J-waa-ng.

 

African Grass Owl in Zulu: Isikhova Soshani.


Pronounced: E-si-co-vaa-So-N-sha-ni.

 

African Grass Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova Sencica Sa se Afrika.


Pronounced: E-si-co-va-Se-nx'i nx'a-Sa-Se- A-fri-ka.

 

African Grass Owl in Tsonga: Xikhovha-Xale Byanyi.

Pronounced: Shi-co-va-Le-Sha-Le- byaa-yi.

Marsh Owl (Asio capensis) in Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa and Tsonga.

 
Marsh Owl in SeSotho/Sepedi: Sephoko Sa tuteng.


Pronounced: Se-Phoo-Ko-Sa-tu-tee-ng.

 

Marsh Owl in Zulu: Isokhova Sa se Maxhaphozini.

Pronounced: E-si-co-vaa-Sa-Se-Ma-X'ha-pho-zi-ni.

 

Marsh Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova Sasemigxobozweni esinomabala omdaka.



Pronounced: E-si-co-va-Sa-Se-me-x'o-bo-zwe-ni-E-si-no-ma-ba-la-O-m-da-ka.

 

Marsh Owl in Tsonga: Xinkhova xale-nhlangasini xatimhondzho.



Pronounced: Shi-nco-va-Le-She-le-n-cl-a-nga-si-Ni-xa-ti-m-hon-d-zho.

 

African Scops Owl(Otus senegalensis)in Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa and Tsonga.

 


African Scops Owl in SeSotho/ Sepedi: Sephooko sa bohola.


Pronounced: Se-Phoo-Ko-sa-bo-ho-la.


African Scops Owl in Zulu: Isikhova sa se Afrika esineminqa emnyama.


Pronounced: E-si-co-vaa-Ee-si-ne-mi-nca e-m-nya-ma.

 

 African Scops Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova Esineningca emnyama sa se Afrika.


Pronounced: E-si-co-va E-see-ne-ni-ng-ka e-m-nya-ma-sa-se-A-fri-ka.



African Scops Owl in Tsonga: Xinkhova Xale-Afrika Xatimhondzho.


Pronounced: Shi-co-va-sha-le-A-fri-ka-Sha-ti-m-ho-n-d-z-h-o.

 

African Barred Owl(Glaucidium capense)in Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa and Tsonga. 

 

African Barred Owl in SeSotho/ Sepedi: Tshehla.

 
Pronounced: T-s-hee-tl-aa-h.

 

African Barred Owl in Zulu: Isikhova sa se Afrika esinemibala-bala ngaphaphambili.

 
Pronounced: E-se-co-vaa-e-Si-ne-me-ba-la-nga-p-ha-m-bi-li.

 

African Barred Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova Esinamachokoza Amhlophe Esincinci.

 
Pronounced: E-se-co-va E-si-na-ma-choo-co-za Aa-mu-t-lo-phe Ee-See-nx'i-nx'i.

 

African Barred Owl in Tsonga: Xikhovha-lesintsongo xaswitwavitwavi.

 
Pronounced: She-co-va-Le-She-ntso-n'go-Sha-swee-twa-vee-twa-vee.

Cape Eagle Owl(Bubo capensis)in Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa and Tsonga.

 

Cape Eagle Owl in SeSotho/ Sepedi: Sephooko Se setsho.

 
Pronounced: Se-P-hoo-ko-Se-Se-t-s-ho.

 

Cape Eagle Owl in Zulu: Isikhova sokhozi.

 
Pronounced: E-si-co-va-So-k-ho-zi.

 

Cape Eagle Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova Esilukhozi sa se koloni.

 
Pronounced: E-si-co-va E-si-lu-k-ho-zi-sa-se-Ko-lo-ni.

 

Cape Eagle Owl in Tsonga: Xinkhovha-gama xale-kapa.

 
Pronounced: Shi-n-co-v-ha-ga-ma.

Verreaux Eagle Owl(Bubo lacteus) in Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa and Tsonga.

  

Verreaux Eagle Owl in SeSotho/ Sepedi: Kgosi Lephooko.


Pronounced: K-go-si-le-p-hoo-ko.

 

Verreaux Eagle Owl in Zulu: Isikhova Esikhulu.


Pronounced: E-si-co-vaa-Ee-si-k-hu-lu.

 

Verreaux Eagle Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova sokhozi esikhulu sa se Afrika .


Pronounced: E-si-co-va-So-k-ho-zi-E-si-k-hu-lu-Sa-se-A-fri-ka.

 

Verreaux Eagle Owl in Tsonga: Xikhovha-nkulu.


Pronounced: Shi-co-va-n-ku-lu.

 

Pel's Fishing Owl(Scotopelia peli) in Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa and Tsonga. 

 


Pel's Fishing Owl in SeSotho/Sepedi: Moja Hlapi.


Pronounced: Mo-ja-t-h-la-pi.

 

Pel's Fishing Owl in Zulu: Isikhova sonhlazi.


Pronounced: E-si-co-vaa-so-n-t-l-ha-zi.

 
 

Pel's Fishing Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova esinemingca emnyama esitya lintlanzi.


Pronounced: E-si-co-va e-si-ne-mi-n-c'a-e-m-n-ya-ma-e-si-t-ya li-n-t-la-n-zi.

 

Pel's Fishing Owl in Tsonga: Xikhovha-xa tinhlamfi.


Pronounced: Shi-co-vha-sha-le-ti-n-tl-a-m-fi.

 

African Wood Owl(Strix woodfordii)in Sesotho, Zulu, Xhosa and Tsonga. 

 

  

African Wood Owl in SeSotho/ Sepedi: Sephooko sa banka


Pronounced: Se-Phoo-Ko-sa-ba-n-ka.

 

African Wood Owl in Zulu: Isikhova sasegodweni.


Pronounced: E-si-co-va-sa-se-go-d-we-ni.

 

African Wood Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova sokhuni lwe-Afrika.


Pronounced: E-si-co-va-se-k-hu-lu-l-we-A-fri-ka.

 

African Wood Owl in Tsonga: Xikhovhaxale tihunyini.


Pronounced: Shi-co-va-sha-le-ti-h-u-n-yi-ni.

Southern White Faced Owl (Ptilopsis granti) in Sesthoto, Zulu, Xhosa and Tsonga.

 

 

 
Southern White Faced Owl in SeSotho/ Sepedi: Maahlo mafubedu.


Pronounced: Ma-th-lo-Ma-fu-be-du.

 
 

Southern White Faced Owl in Zulu: Isikhova Esinobuso obumhlophe.


Pronounced: E-si-co-va-sa-e-si-no-b-uso-o-bu-m-tl-ho-p-he..

 

Southern White Faced Owl in Xhosa: Isikhova esinobuso obumhlophe sa se mzansi.

 

Southern White Faced Owl in Tsonga: Xikhovha xa xikandza xobasa.


Pronounced: Shi-co-va-sha-shi-ka-n-za-sho-b-as-a

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