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Eurasian Scops Owl

From Opus

Photo © by JJM Lesvos, May 2003
Photo © by JJM
Lesvos, May 2003

Alternative names: Commmon Scops-Owl; European Scops-Owl

Otus scops

Includes: Cyprus Scops Owl


[edit] Identification

JuvenilePhoto © by anzekBijela, Montenegro
Photo © by anzek
Bijela, Montenegro

16–20 cm (6¼-7¾ in)
Small, eared owl with yellow eyes.
Plumage is a grey-buff intricately marked with black, which provides excellent camouflage against tree bark when roosting.

Young birds are more strongly vermiculated than adults.

[edit] Distribution

Southern Europe, parts of North Africa, Asia Minor east to Central Asia. Many populations migratory, moving to Africa south of Sahara in winter.

[edit] Taxonomy

Originally formed superspecies with Oriental Scops Owl and African Scops Owl but is vocally and genetically distinct.

[edit] Subspecies

Cyprus Scops OwlPhoto © by ApusApusPaphos District, Cyprus, 22 February 2020
Cyprus Scops Owl
Photo © by ApusApus
Paphos District, Cyprus, 22 February 2020

Six subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • O. s. scops:
  • O. s. pulchellus:
  • Volga River to Lake Baikal and south to Altai and Tien Shan Mountains
  • O. s. mallorcae:
  • O. s. cycladum:
  • O. s. cyprius:
  • Cyprus - split by IOC as Cyprus Scops Owl
  • O. s. turanicus:

Subspecies cycladum may be included in nominate form.

[edit] Habitat

Open or semi-open woodland, parks, plantations etc. Winters on savannah. Usually not conifers except in parts of Russian range.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

Nests in tree-holes and in cavities in rocks and walls.

[edit] Diet

Mainly insects and other invertebrates but also small lizards, frogs and small mammals.

[edit] Vocalisation

Listen in an external program

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2016. IOC World Bird Names (version 6.3). Available at

[edit] Recommended Citation

[edit] External Links


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