Oriental Bay Owl (Phodilus badius)

Oriental Bay Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Tytonidae | [latin] Phodilus badius | [authority] Horsfield, 1821 | [UK] Oriental Bay Owl | [FR] Phodile calong | [DE] Maskeneule | [ES] Lechuza Cornuda | [NL] Bruine Uil


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Phodilus are small owls with facial discs resembling a mask. The disc extends into what appear as ear tufts, and there si a pronounced ‘V’ of short feathers extending to the base of the beak. There is a rim of stiff feathers around the disc which, by use of a set of muscles can be moved to allow changes tothe shape and depth of the disc. This may be an adaptation to allow focussing or ranging of sound into the ears. In many ways similar to the closely related Tyto genus

Physical charateristics

This small to medium sized owl is distinctive in its strikingly marked, angular face with a dark V-shaped marking running down the centre of the face between the eyes. Contrasting with the pale chestnut brown colouration. The head is broad and there is no narrowing at the neck. The legs are long and fully feathered. The underside of the body has dark flecks and the back and short, rounded wings are dark chestnut brown, spotted with black and yellow. The ears are slightly tufted.

Listen to the sound of Oriental Bay Owl

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/STRIGIFORMES/Tytonidae/sounds/Oriental Bay Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 23 cm size max.: 33 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Oriental Region : Southeast Asia to Borneo and Java. The Bay Owl can be found in Southwestern India, Sri Lanka, and the South East Asian peninsular mass and islands from Nepal and Burma throughout Malaysia and parts of Indonesia.


Inhabits woodland, plantations and mangrove swamps at altitudes of up to 2200 m


The breeding season of the Oriental bay owl varies with region. It nests in hollow trees and tree stumps about 2-5m up.Clutch size is 3 to 5 eggs. A suited nest can be used for many years.

Feeding habits

Prey is located using extremely sensitive hearing and consists of small mammals, small birds, reptiles, frogs and insects. Most of its hunting is carried out from a tree, and its short, round wings suit it well for forest hunting

Video Oriental Bay Owl


copyright: Martin Kennewell


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.
The Bay Owl is quite rare, and is uncommon within its range. It is, in common with all forest owls, very susceptible to loss from deforestation.
It is a strictly nocturnal species, spending the daylight hours in holes in trees or in hollow tree trunks. Some individuals in deep forest roost during the day in branches, sleeping with closely contracted eyes and the discs vertically stretched and folded. If disturbed, it is capable of turning the disc to focus the sound by use of the musces controlling the ruff around the disc.
Oriental Bay Owl status Least Concern



Distribution map

Oriental Bay Owl distribution range map

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