Brown Hawk-Owl (Ninox scutulata)

Brown Hawk-Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Ninox scutulata | [authority] Raffles, 1822 | [UK] Brown Hawk-Owl | [FR] Ninox hirsute | [DE] Falkenkauz | [ES] Ninox Pardo | [NL] Aziatische Valkuil


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Ninox are hawk owls, ranging from small to large, with rounded heads without ear-tufts. They have long, pointed wings and a long tail. The nostrils are forward facing on an enlarged cere in an indistinct facial disk. There are at least 20 species in this genus, from Siberia through much of the Pacific rim, South-east Asia and Australasia.

Physical charateristics

The Brown Hawk Owl is a medium-sized (32cm) owl with a hawk-like shape due to its long tail and lack of a distinct facial disk. The upperparts are dark brown, with a barred tail. The underparts are whitish with reddish-brown streaking, although the subspecies found in the Andaman Islands has dark brown underparts. The tail is barred. The eyes are large and yellow. Sexes are similar.

Listen to the sound of Brown Hawk-Owl

[audio: Hawk-Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 32 cm size max.: 34 cm
incubation min.: 23 days incubation max.: 25 days
fledging min.: 26 days fledging max.: 27 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 5  


Oriental Region, Eurasia : Northeast Pakistan through South Asia, Malaysia to Borneo. From southeast Siberia over Manchuria, Korea, Japan, east and south China to Indochina (Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia), Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, the Philippines and Java. Also in India and Sri Lanka.


Wide variety of different forest types troughout range like rainforest, deciduous, evergreen, coniferous forest, even plantations, parks and suburbs.


Nests in a tree cavity, clutch size 2-5 eggs, incubation 25 days, young fledge after 28 days.

Feeding habits

Feeds mainly on insects (dragonflies, moths), catched in the air. Takes also crabs, lizards, amphibians, small birds, small mammals (including bats). Hunts in clearings, forest egdes or cultivated area.

Video Brown Hawk-Owl


copyright: Mark Andrews


This species has an extremely 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.
Brown Hawk-Owl status Least Concern


Northern races migrate as far South as Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Philippines, Sulawesi, Moluccas and Lesser Sundas, to overlap with resident tropical Southern populations; record of beach-washed specimen, probably japonica, on Ashmore Reef, NW Australia. Some Japanese birds winter in East China.

Distribution map

Brown Hawk-Owl distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *