Abyssinian Owl (Asio abyssinicus)

Abyssinian Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Asio abyssinicus | [authority] Guerin-Meneville, 1843 | [UK] Abyssinian Owl | [FR] Hibou d’Abyssinie | [DE] Abyssinienohreule | [ES] Buho Abisinio | [NL] Abessijnse ransuil


Monotypic species


Asio is a genus of typical owls, or true owls, in family Strigidae. The genus Asio contains the eared owls, which are characterised by feather tufts on the head which have the appearance of ears. This group has representatives over most of the planet, and the Short-eared Owl is one of the most widespread of all bird species, breeding in Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the Galpagos Islands. Its geographic range extends to all continents except Antarctica and Australia. These are medium-sized owls, 30?46 cm (12?18 in) in length with 80?103 cm (31.5?40 in) wingspans. They are long winged and have the characteristic facial disc. The two northern species are partially migratory, moving south in winter from the northern parts of their range, or wandering nomadically in poor vole years in search of better food supplies. Tropical Asio owls are largely sedentary. Asio owls are mainly nocturnal, but Short-eared Owls are also crepuscular. Most species nest on the ground, but the Long-eared Owl, Asio otus, nests in the old stick nests of crows, ravens and magpies (family Corvidae) and various hawks. These owls hunt over open fields or grasslands, taking mainly rodents, other small mammals and some birds.

Physical charateristics

It is a medium-sized owl with yellow eyes, a black bill and gray eyebrows. It is similar in appearance to the Long-eared Owl, Asio otus, but is overall darker, and their ranges do not overlap. It has long, brown, white-edged ear tufts that are slightly centrally located on the head.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 42 cm size max.: 44 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


Africa : East


This owl prefers open grasslands or moorlands with oak or cedar forests, and it occurs in mountain valleys and gorges up to 3900 meters


Probably uses a stick nest of other birds. No further data.

Feeding habits

Mostly field mice , shrews, birds. Preference is often season bound with the availability of prey species. Has stronger claws than most Asio Owls and thus capable of hunting for larger prey.

Video Abyssinian Owl


copyright: Martin Kennewell


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Abyssinian Owl status Least Concern


Presumed sedentary

Distribution map

Abyssinian Owl distribution range map

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