Biak Scops Owl (Otus beccarii)

Biak Scops Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Otus beccarii | [authority] Salvadori, 1876 | [UK] Biak Scops Owl | [FR] Petit duc de Biak | [DE] Beccarieule | [ES] Autillo de Biak | [NL] Biak-dwergooruil


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Otus beccarii AU Biak Island


Members of the genus Otus are the Scops and Screech owls. They are relatively small owls, with short, rounded wings. Most have erectile ear-tufts. Otus is a worldwide genus, containing some 45 species.

Physical charateristics

Tawny-brown owl with short, inconspicuous ear-tufts. Yellow eyes. Rather distinct, pale whitish eyebrows and facial disc. Densely barred brown upperparts with some white on scapulars. Brown or rich rufous underparts, probably colour morphs but possibly sex dimorphism, with very fine barring. Similar spp. The only owl on Biak-Supiori. Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis and Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus have different habits and long tails. Voice Probably a harsh croak, rasping at close range but sounding more like a deer’s bark at long range. Hints Calling birds can usually be stalked and seen in the beam of a torch

Listen to the sound of Biak Scops Owl

[audio: Scops Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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Australasia : Biak Island. Otus beccarii is endemic to the twin islands of Biak-Supiori in Geelvink Bay, Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), Indonesia


It inhabits forest, including partially logged forest, up to at least 300 m, including coastal swamp-forest bounded by heavily forested limestone cliffs. It may be poorly tolerant of habitat degradation, as there have been no records from heavily logged or degraded forest.


No data.

Feeding habits

Probably insects and small vertebrates


There are very few records of this species, which is classified as Endangered on the basis of its very small range and apparent restriction to tall lowland forest, which is severely fragmented and declining. However it may prove to be more common and widespread, and justify reclassification as Vulnerable.
Its status is unclear, as it is a nocturnal species with poorly-known calls and only recently considered to be a separate species. A 1973 survey of the island found only one pair, it was not recorded during three 1990s visits to Biak and just one was heard in and around Biak-Utara Reserve in 1997. However, two were heard one morning in 1995, and it was suspected to be fairly widespread in moderate numbers in 1982, based on vocalisations and local reports, although not actually observed.
Biak Scops Owl status Endangered


Presumed resident

Distribution map

Biak Scops Owl distribution range map

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