Order: Strigiformes

Family: Strigidae

Scientific name: Athene brama, Temminck, 1821

IUCN Red list status-Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Spotted Owlet is also known as Grey-bellied little owl.


The Spotted Owlet is a small owlet with rounded head, measuring 18 to 20 cm in length and 100 to 115 grams in weight. The overall plumage is shades of brown. The head is brown and heavily spotted with white. The facial disc is dark and there are curved white eyebrows. There is a white neck band. The upper part is greyish brown or brown. The under parts are white with brown streaking. Both the sexes look similar. The juveniles are more whitish with lesser spots and streaks. The bill is pale yellow and curved down. The irises are bright yellow and there is a dark blackish brown eye-ring. The legs are covered with white feathers.


The diet of the spotted owlet consists mainly of insects, grasshoppers, beetles, moths, insect larvae, small frogs, lizards, small birds. Sometimes small rodents are also taken by them. The forage time is mainly night and it is done solitarily or in pairs.


Spotted Owlets have low forest dependence. The habitat includes cultivated lands, agricultural lands, pasturelands, thickly covered gardens, heavily degraded forests and deserts. In India it is distributed throughout the union. It is also found in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding season is from February to April in north India and November to April in south India. They are cavity nesters and mainly use tree cavities and holes found in buildings and man­made structures for nesting. Normally 2-5 eggs are laid. Both pairs take turns to incubate the eggs for 25-30. The chicks hatch out after 25-30 days. The young ones care is also done by both parents.


The call is a harsh and loud “chiurr…chiurr…chiurr” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Little Owl (Athene noctua).
  • Forest Owlet (Athene blewitti).
  • White Browed Owl (Athene superciliaris).
  • Athene brama brama of south India.
  • Athene brama ultra of distributed in northeast India.
  • Athene brama indica of Iran, Pakistan, north and central India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Migratory Behaviour

Common Resident