Spotted Owlet (Athene brama)

Spotted Owlet

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Athene brama | [authority] Temminck, 1821 | [UK] Spotted Owlet | [FR] Cheveche tachetee | [DE] Brahmakauz | [ES] Mochuelo Brahman | [NL] Brahmaanse Steenuil


Monotypic species


Athene is a genus of owls, containing two to four living species, depending on classification. These birds are small, with brown and white speckles, yellow eyes, and white eyebrows. This genus is found on all continents except for Australia, Antarctica, and Subsaharan Africa.

Physical charateristics

The Spotted Owlet is small (21 cm) and stocky. The upperparts are grey-brown, heavily spotted with white. The underparts are white, streaked with brown. The facial disc is pale and the iris is yellow. There is a white neckband and supercilium. Sexes are similar. The flight is deeply undulating. In Baluchistan it overlaps with the Little Owl from which it can be separated by the unstreaked crown and narrow tail bands. The nominate form is darker than the paler forms such as indica of drier regions

Listen to the sound of Spotted Owlet

[audio: Owlet.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 19 cm size max.: 21 cm
incubation min.: 28 days incubation max.: 32 days
fledging min.: 31 days fledging max.: 33 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


Oriental Region, Eurasia : South Iran to Southeast Asia


Mainly forest and woodland, semi-arid, scrubby


The breeding season is November to April. Courtship behaviour includes bill grasping, allopreening and ritual feeding. The female may call with the male, bob head and deflect its tail in invitation. They nest in cavities often competing with other hole-nesters such as mynas. They may also nest in holes in vertical embankments. The nest may be lined with leaves and feathers or may use the existing lining from a prior occupant. The typical clutch is made up of 3-4 eggs and incubation begins with the first laid eggs leading to a wide variation in the size of the chicks. The young are fed initially on insects such as cockroaches and later fed small vertebrate prey such as mice (a toad has been noted in Gujarat). Only one or two chicks may fledge and they leave the nest in about 20 days.

Feeding habits

It hunts a variety of insects and small vertebrates. In Pakistan they have been found to take mostly insect prey. In the arid region of Jodhpur, they have been found to take more rodents (especially in the genus Mus and tend to avoid other rodents such as Tatera) prior to the breeding season. Bats, toads, small snakes such as Ramphotyphlops braminus have been noted. They may also take scorpions and molluscs.

Video Spotted Owlet


copyright: Pieter de Groot Boersma


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.
Spotted Owlet status Least Concern



Distribution map

Spotted Owlet distribution range map

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