Pemba Scops Owl (Otus pembaensis)

Pemba Scops Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Otus pembaensis | [authority] Pakenham, 1937 | [UK] Pemba Scops Owl | [FR] Petit Duc de Pemba | [DE] Pembaeule | [ES] Autillo de Pemba | [NL] Pemba-dwergooruil


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Otus pembaensis AF Pemba 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

A medium-sized scops-owl with short ear-tufts. Varies from pale rufous-brown with light streaking on head and faint barring below, to bright rich russet all over. Similar spp. Barn Owl Tyto alba, the only other owl on Pemba Island, is much larger and very different in appearance. Voice hoo repeated in long sequence at intervals of 0.5-1 second. Pairs duet, with note of male shorter, and lower in pitch

Listen to the sound of Pemba Scops Owl

[audio: Scops Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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Africa : Pemba Island


This species occurs in a number of forested habitats, such as dense areas in clove and mango plantations, but is much more common in native, primary forest.


Nest is built in a tree cavity. Probably breeds in august-october. No further data.

Feeding habits

This Owl hunts mainly for insects which are either dropped on from a perch, gleaned from foliage or hawked straight out of the air. It hunts by night time only.


This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a single small population which is continuing to decline as a result of habitat loss and degradation, owing primarily to a local agricultural trend away from plantation crops and towards open farmland.
Otus pembaensis is endemic to Pemba, some 55 km off the coast of northern Tanzania. Although occurring over most of the island, it is largely confined to the two small remaining native forests; Ngezi (14 km2) and Msitu Mkuu (3 km2). The global population size is estimated at c.1500 pairs. Global population trends have not been quantified, and recently populations appeared to be stable or declining slightly owing to slow habitat conversion. However, observations of habitat loss from surveys in 2005 suggest that the species is in rapid decline.
Pemba Scops Owl status Vulnerable


Presumed sedentary

Distribution map

Pemba Scops Owl distribution range map

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