Mountain Scops Owl (Otus spilocephalus)

Mountain Scops Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Otus spilocephalus | [authority] Blyth, 1846 | [UK] Mountain Scops Owl | [FR] Petit duc tachete | [DE] Fuchseule | [ES] Autillo Montano | [NL] Gevlekte dwergooruil


Monotypic species


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. Sometimes considered to form superspecies with G. passerinum, G. brodiei, G. perlatum and G. californicum, and including recently separated G. cobanense and G. hoskinsii, but DNA evidence clearly shows that G. passerinum and G. californicum are not closely related. Formerly considered to include last 3 as races, but these split on basis of vocalizations and/or DNA evidence. Perhaps closely related to G. costaricanum, which has recently been considered conspecific with present species by some authors. Monotypic.

Physical charateristics

Also called the Spotted Scops Owl, this tawny-rufous small owl has ill-defined ear-tufts and unstreaked underparts. It also has short blunt wings. Large dark brown spots on crown, distinct pale-spotted nape collar, and irregular barred upperparts Underparts mostly very finely vermiculated, with irregular white spots and chevrons below. Nearly entirely feathered in continental races).

Listen to the sound of Mountain Scops Owl

[audio: Scops Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 17 cm size max.: 21 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 5  


Oriental Region : widespread


Evergreen forest, chestnut, oak and pine. Montane forest up to 2700m.


The unlined nest is an often natural tree hollow or old woodpecker nest about 2-7 meter up. Clutch size 2 to 5 eggs.

Feeding habits

Diet includes moths, beetles, cicadas, rodents and small birds.

Video Mountain Scops Owl


copyright: John Gregory


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.
Mountain Scops Owl status Least Concern



Distribution map

Mountain Scops Owl distribution range map

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