A baby bird will be starting ‘owl school’ next week as it learns how to become fully grown.
The spectacled owl, which was born six weeks ago, will learn to walk, hop, bounce, flap and finally fly, which it will be expected to do at 12 weeks old.
It is not yet known whether the owl is male or female, but if it’s a boy it will be named Aztec, and if it’s a girl it will be named Inca – in a nod to its South American origins.
The species is the only kind of owl to live permanently in the Amazon rainforest.
It was bred at the Scottish Owl Centre in West Lothian, and hand reared by head keeper Trystan Williams, 48.
He took it home when it was a day old, and has given it a teddy to cuddle when it sleeps lying on its back.
When it is older it will sleep standing up, and its white feathers will become dark with spectacle patterns around the eyes.
Mr Williams said: “We will find out if it’s a boy or a girl when it’s a little bit older, we may have to get a DNA test done or see how big it is – girls are usually bigger.
“It has been hand reared for shows, it is a tropical species.
“It is the first time in seven years that it has been successfully bred.
“They try every year but usually the little ones don’t survive.
“I took the owlet into my house and hand-reared it after taking it from the nest.
“The parents probably think it’s a relief
“When I took the baby they will be thinking they will try again next spring.
“This little one will lean on the toy owl, it thinks it’s a fluffy thing to lean on.
“It has a teddy to sleep in its box with it.
“It is getting to the stage where it can stand up by itself.
“It is like it’s going to school – it is learning all the time, every day it takes a baby step.
“Over the next six weeks it will be learning to walk, hop, bounce, flap and fly.”