Order: Strigiformes

Family: Strigidae

Scientific name: Otus bakkamoena, Pennant, 1769

IUCN Red list status-Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Indian Scops Owl is the largest among the Scops Owls found in India.


The Indian Scops Owl is a small owl, measuring 22 to 25 cm in length and 125 to 160 grams in weight. The upper parts are gray or reddish brown with scattered faint yellowish brown spotting. The under parts are gray or buff with scattered fine darker vertical streaking. The facial disc is whitish or pale buff. The eyes are large with orange or brown colour. There is a dark neck band. The bill is gray and there are bristles around the base of the bill. There are gray and rufous morphs. Both sexes look similar.


The diet of Indian Scops Owl is primarily large insects like beetles, grasshoppers, cicadas and moths. They also feed small rodents, small birds, lizards and frogs. The forage time is mainly night and it is done solitarily or in pairs.


The Habitat of Indian Scops Owl is forests, well wooded areas, groves, foothill forests etc. They also inhabit thick plantations near towns and cultivated areas, gardens, orchards and parks with dense shade giving trees. In India it is distributed mainly in the peninsular region and central India. Absent in Jammu & Kashmir. It is also found in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A related species Collared Scops owl is found in NE states and states in Himalayan base.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding season of the Indian Scops Owl species is from January to April and also during rainy season. The nest is an unlined tree hollow. Sometimes the abandoned nest of woodpeckers and barbets are also used. Normally 3-5 white eggs are laid. The incubation period is 28-29 days. Both parents share all the duties of incubation and young ones care.


The call is a soft single note “whuk” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Oriental Scops Owl (Otus sunia).
  • Pallid Scops Owl (Otus brucei).
  • Andaman Scops Owl (Otus balli).
  • Nicobar Scops Owl (Otus alius).
  • Otus bakkamoena bakkamoena of peninsular Indian States and Sri Lanka.
  • Otus bakkamoena deserticolor of West and South Pakistan.
  • Otus bakkamoena gangeticus of Northwest Pakistan, Northwest Indian States and lowland Nepal.
  • Otus bakkamoena marathae of south Indian States, Odisha and West Bengal.

Migratory Behaviour

Common Resident