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Eurasian Scops Owl - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Otus scops)
Photo © by JJM
Lesvos, May 2003

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

Otus scops


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.


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


Originally formed superspecies with Oriental Scops Owl and African Scops Owl but is vocally and genetically distinct. Cyprus Scops Owl was recently split from Eurasian Scops Owl.


Five 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. turanicus:

Subspecies cycladum may be included in nominate form.


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



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


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



  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2016. IOC World Bird Names (version 6.3). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.

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