• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Jungle Owlet - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies G. r. radiatum
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh Terai, India, Jan-2015
Glaucidium radiatum


20 - 24cm
A small owl with a round head. Entirely finely barred, including flanks. Facial disk also barred with white eyebrows. Dark brown above with rufous wings. Yellow eyes.
Malabarium in the south is much more rufous, especially the head, and generally darker.

Similar Speces

May be confused with Asian Barred Owlet and Collared Owlet. Differs from first in smaller size, rufous primaries and paler appearance. Both species also have streaks on their belly which are lacking in Jungle Owlet. Collared Owlet is usually found at higher altitudes.

Subspecies G. r. malabaricum
Photo © by James Williams
BR Hills, Karnataka, Southern India, September 2006


India and Sri Lanka. From the Himalayan foothills south to Sri Lanka. No confirmed records in the northeast.


May form a superspecies with Chestnut-backed Owlet Glaucidium castanonotum.

Some authorities place this species in genus Taenioglaux.


Two subspecies regognized,

  • G. r. radiatum:
Himalayas to Bhutan, India, western Myanmar and Sri Lanka
  • G. r. malabaricum
  • South-western peninsular India

The latter may have species status, further study needed.


Scrub and deciduous forests. Also in teak plantations. Avoids wet forest.


The species is often found in small groups and they are very vociferous at dawn and dusk. Easy to see at day.


Feeds on insects like beetles or locusts. Takes also small birds, lizards and rodents.


Breeding from March to May. Lays 3 eggs, only 2 in Sri Lanka.


Listen in an external program

Recording by Alok Tewari
Dwarahat, Dist. Almora, Uttarakhand, Alt. 5100 ft above MSL, India, April-2015
Call given in late evening, before Sunset, echoed through the Himalayan valley.
Another louder call, recorded in the same vicinity, in the file below :

Listen in an external program

Recording by Alok Tewari


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. König, C. and F. Weick 2008. Owls of the World, second edition. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 978-0-7136-6548-2

Recommended Citation

External Links