Andaman Scops Owls

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The Andaman Scops Owls (Otus balli) - also known as Sumatran Scops Owls - are threatened of extinction within their natural range. Therefore, this species is classified as Near Threatened due to its small range and destructions of its native habitat.


Distribution / Habitat

They are only found on the Andaman Islands situated between India to the west and Burma to the north and east. They often roost in trees in semi-open or cultivated areas and around human settlements



Andaman Scops Owls measure 7.1 - 7.5 inches or 18 - 19 cm in length. They occur in two color morphs - brown and rufous.

The plumage is reddish brown with pale facial disk and white eyebrows. The upperparts have distinct black patterns. The tail and flight feathers are barred. The plumage below is paler than the upper plumage with white patterns. The bill and feet are grey.

Their green-yellow, forward-facing eyes are nearly as large as human eyes and are immobile within their circular bone sockets. For this reason, owls need flexible necks, as they have to turn the entire head to change views. They have the same number of vertebrae in their necks as most mammals and can move their heads 270 degrees in either direction (nearly all the way around!). Most other bird species have their eyes on the sides of their heads enabling them to see sideways and, to some extent, backwards. Owls, on the other hand, have both eyes in the front which enhances their depth perception.

Owls are far-sighted, and are unable to clearly see anything within a few inches of their eyes. Their far vision - particularly in low light - is, however, exceptional.

To protect their eyes, Owls have 3 eyelids - one upper and one lower eyelid. The upper lid closes when the owl blinks, and the lower closes when the Owl sleeps. The third eyelid - called a nictitating membrane - is a thin layer of tissue that closes diagonally across the eye, from the inside to the outside. The purpose of these membranes is to clean, moisten and protect the surface of the eyes.

Similar Species:

They can be identified from the only other Scops Owl found within their range - the Oriental Scops Owl - by their unstreaked under and upper plumage and different vocalizations.


Breeding / Nesting

Most nesting activities are observed between February through April.


Diet / Feeding

Their diet mostly consists of insects and their larvae.


Alternate (Global) Names

Czech: Výrecek andamanský, výre?ek andamanský ... Danish: Andaman-dværghornugle ... Dutch: Andamanendwergooruil, Andamanen-dwergooruil ... Estonian: andamani päll ... Finnish: Andamaanienpöllönen ... French: Petit-duc des Andaman ... German: Andamaneneule, Andamanen-Zwergohreule, Andamaneule ... Italian: Assiolo delle Andamane ... Japanese: andamankonohazuku ... Norwegian: Andamanugle ... Polish: syczek andamanski, syczek andama?ski ... Russian: ??????????? ????? ...Slovak: výrik andamanský ... Spanish: Autillo de Andaman, Autillo de Andamán ... Swedish: Andamandvärguv


Other Web Resources

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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