Madagascar Owl (Asio madagascariensis)

Madagascar Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Asio madagascariensis | [authority] Smith, 1834 | [UK] Madagascar Owl | [FR] Hibou malgache | [DE] Malegasseneule | [ES] Buho Malgache | [NL] Madagaskar ransuil


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Asio madagascariensis AF Madagascar


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

Its upperparts, crown and nape are brownish-black while its underparts are buff with black streaking. It has a brown facial disk, black bill and orange eyes. Its long ear tufts are dark brown, flecked with tan, matching the head. Females are larger than males.

Listen to the sound of Madagascar Owl

[audio: Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
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Africa : Madagascar. This species is widespread in western and central Madagascar


Although its upper altitudinal limits remain to be determined, this species is not known from high elevations. It occurs in the drier western forests, but appears to be quite adaptable, and has also been found in degraded habitats such as trees around villages, even on the central plateau


Little is known about its breeding biology. It is thought to lay its eggs in stick nests created by other animals.

Feeding habits

It feeds mainly on small mammals (f.e. rats and bats), hunting either in the forest or in open areas nearby It is thought to lay its eggs in stick nests created by other animals. Also known to hunt for birds, reptiles and insects.

Video Madagascar Owl


copyright: Herve Jacob


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.
It is a medium sized owl endemic to the island of Madagascar. It is sometimes considered to be conspecific with the Long-eared Owl, Asio otus.
Madagascar Owl status Least Concern



Distribution map

Madagascar Owl distribution range map

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