Seychelles Scops Owl (Otus insularis)

Seychelles Scops Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Otus insularis | [authority] Tristram, 1880 | [UK] Seychelles Scops Owl | [FR] Petit duc macule | [DE] Seychelleneule | [ES] Autillo de Seychelles | [NL] Seychellendwergooruil


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Otus insularis IO Seychelles Islands


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

Its plumage is rufous brown and exhibits black shaft streaks. The underparts and the facial disc are rufous. The long grey legs are unfeathered. The eyes are large and golden yellow. The ear tufts are very small.

Listen to the sound of Seychelles Scops Owl

[audio: Scops Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 39 cm wingspan max.: 41 cm
size min.: 21 cm size max.: 23 cm
incubation min.: 22 days incubation max.: 26 days
fledging min.: 30 days fledging max.: 40 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


Indian Ocean : Seychelles Islands


The Seychelles scops-owl inhabits forests of native and introduced tree species, on upper slopes and in valleys, often shrouded in mist and usually close to a water source. It may once have occurred to sea level, and is still sometimes reported from lowland regions with suitable habitat, but generally occurs above 200 meters


Nests are found within wooded areas, which are made up mainly of exotic vegetation. Eight nests have been found by scientists, all in the cavities of two relatively uncommon tree species. Nests are usually found in live trees located amongst dense vegetation. A single egg is laid; congeners normally lay two, but Seychelles land birds characteristically lay a single egg. Observations at two nests revealed that incubation lasted for 3-4 weeks and the fledging period was 4-6 weeks. The species can probably breed year-round with peaks in nesting around May and October. Pairs can initiate re-nesting soon after nest failure. Breeding success is recorded as low at c.0.5 fledglings/territory/year, although this may be high enough to maintain population stability.

Feeding habits

They prey on lizards, insects, and possibly tree-frogs, which are common in their habitat. They also consume some vegetation. It forages on foliage and tree trunks, not just on the ground.


This species is listed as Endangered because it has an extremely small population, which is probably stable. Its population size and very small range on one island make it susceptible to stochastic events, such as extreme weather events and the introduction of alien taxa.
Seychelles Scops Owl status Endangered



Distribution map

Seychelles Scops Owl distribution range map

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