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Spotted Owlet - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies A. b. indica , Pair
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India, 1 March 2016
Athene brama


Nominate subspecies
Photo © by drkishore
Markapur, Andhra Pradesh, Southern India, February-2017

19–21 cm (7½-8¼ in)

  • Grey-brown upperparts, heavily spotted with white
  • Underparts are white, barred brown
  • Pale facial disc
  • Yellow eyes
  • White neckband
  • Relatively short tail

Sexes are similar

Similar species

Forest Owlet with more white in tail, and Little Owl with longitudinal streaks on both underside and crown; both are larger than Spotted Owlet.


Asia from Southern Iran, India to Southeast Asia.



Subspecies A. b. albida, Juvenile
Photo © by Seyed Babak Mus
Minab town, Iran, Spring 2004

There are 4 subspecies[1]:

  • A. b. albida:
  • A. b. indica:
  • Northern and central peninsula India
  • A. b. brama:
  • A. b. pulchra:


Around human habitation and in light forests. Ruins, mango topes and ancient trees. Lowland Rainforest


This small owl is often heard during the day and can sometimes be seen hunting early in the morning and later in the afternoon.

Subspecies A.b. pulchra
Photo © by kctsang
Thailand, October 2018


They nest in a tree hole or building. Their clutch contains 3-5 eggs.


Their main diet consists of small insects and vertebrates, also small mammals such as mice, geckos, shrews and roosting birds.


Listen in an external program

Recording © by Alok Tewari
Delhi, India, Nov.-2016
Call given by a pair at 12.40 am, mid-night hour.
The recording below is of the day-time communication calls between a pair, one individual sitting near and other a little distance away.

Listen in an external program

Recording © by Alok Tewari
Outside Sultanpur National Park, Gurgaon, Haryana, India, May-2017

Subspecies A. b. indica
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India, 7 December 2010


Click images to see larger version


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BirdForum Member observations
  3. König, C. and F. Weick 2008. Owls of the World, second edition. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 978-0-7136-6548-2
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved October 2018)

Recommended Citation

External Links