Sokoke Scops Owl (Otus ireneae)

Sokoke Scops Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Otus ireneae | [authority] Ripley, 1966 | [UK] Sokoke Scops Owl | [FR] Petit duc de Sokoke | [DE] Sokokeeule | [ES] Autillo de Sokoke | [NL] Sokoke-dwergooruil


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Otus ireneae AF Kenya


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

Very small owl with slight “ears”. Both grey and rufous forms occur. Heavily barred, streaked and vermiculated like most scops-owls Otus spp. Similar spp. African Barred Owlet Glaucidium capense much bigger with obviously barred, not vermiculated, underparts. Voice Soft too too too, repeated 10 or more times per minute.

Listen to the sound of Sokoke Scops Owl

[audio: Scops Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 15 cm size max.: 16 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
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Africa : Kenya


Most easily located in the Cynometra woodland of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest between Kilifi and Malindi on the Kenya coast. In Arabuko-Sokoke, it occurs mostly in good quality Cynometra forest (787 pairs in 99 km2), and at much lower densities in an additional 120 km2 of secondary or more disturbed Cynometra forest.


No data

Feeding habits

It feeds on insects, mainly beetles

Video Sokoke Scops Owl


copyright: Chris and Megan Perkins


This owl is listed as Endangered because it has a very small, severely fragmented range, within which the quality of its habitat is declining, especially through unsustainable removal of large Brachylaena trees, which may be its main resource for nest-cavities.
Otus ireneae was believed to be endemic to the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest in coastal Kenya, but in 1992 it was found in the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania as well. In Arabuko-Sokoke, a population of c. 1000 pairs (stable between 1984 and 1998) occurs in c.220 km2 of forest. In the East Usambaras, there are c.97 km2 of suitable habitat and densities range from less than 1.5 pairs/km2 up to 3-4 pairs/km2, suggesting a population in the low hundreds.
Sokoke Scops Owl status Endangered



Distribution map

Sokoke Scops Owl distribution range map

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