Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Indian scops owl

Binomial name: Otus bakkamoena, Thomas Pennant, 1769

The Indian scops owl (Otus bakkamoena) is a resident species of owl found in the southern regions of Asia from eastern Arabia through the Indian Subcontinent, except the far north, east across much of Southeast Asia to Indonesia. This species formerly included what has been split out as the collared scops owl (Otus lettia). The species epithet is derived from "bakamuna", the Sinhalese name for the white barn owl (Tyto alba), and the brown fish owl (Ketupa zeylonensis).

The Indian scops owl is a common resident bird in forests and other well-wooded areas. It nests in a hole in a tree, laying 3–5 eggs.

The Indian scops owl is a small (23–25 cm) owl, although it is one of the largest of the scops owls. Like other scops owls, it has small head tufts, or ears. The upperparts are grey or brown, depending on the morph, with faint buff spotting. The underparts are buff with fine darker streaking.

The facial disc is whitish or buff, and the eyes are orange or brown. There is a buff neckband. Sexes are similar. The flight is deeply undulating.

This species is nocturnal. Through its natural camouflage, it is very difficult to see in daytime. But it can often be located by the small birds that mob it while it is roosting in a tree. It feeds mainly on insects. The call is a soft single note ("whuk?").

This species is very similar to the slightly larger partially migratory collared scops owl Otus lettia and the oriental scops owl Otus sunia. They can be separated on call and eye colour.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Strigiformes
Family
Strigidae
Genus
Otus
Species
Otus bakkamoena

Common names

  • English: Indian scops-owl

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Indian scops owl, Otus bakkamoena in Thailand

Range map of Otus bakkamoena in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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