17 Indian Scops Owl Facts You’ll Never Forget

Get to know interesting Indian scops owl facts including the bird's description, distribution, and lifespan.

The Indian scops owl (Otus bakkamoena) is one of the largest resident owl species found in parts of South Asia and can range from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, to Nepal, the Himalayas, and Iran. The diet of this owl includes insects like lizards, small birds, and rodents. This owl feeds mainly during the night and hides against trees during the day. They don't have a particular breeding season and females tend to lay three to five eggs at a time. The breeding location is usually tree holes, abandoned buildings, or nests, and the number of eggs laid can change depending upon the subspecies. Theirwingspans in flight can be about 24 in (60 cm).

This bird has a buff neckband and gray to brown plumage that depends on the morph ('morph' means the color phase of the owl). Other than that they have dark yellowish-brown, orange or brown eyes with a dark outer margin. They have ochre-buff underparts and become paler as they advance to the belly. The crown is darker of these birds than the mantle and the bill is greenish-brown with a darker tip. The length and weight of both genders are the same. In the past, they were a subspecies of the collared scops owl. Read ahead to discover the description and distribution of this owl species from India.

If you liked this, then you should also read about the tawny owl and the barn owl.

Indian Scops Owl

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, lizards, and small birds

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-5 eggs

How much do they weigh?

4.4-5.6 oz (125-160 g)

How long are they?

24 in (60 cm)

How tall are they?

9-10 in (23-25 cm)

What do they look like?

Brown and white

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Loss of habitat

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Woods, mountains, and lowland forests


South Asia





Scientific Name

Otus bakkamoena





Indian Scops Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Indian scops owl?

The Indian scops owl (Otus bakkamoena) is a species of bird commonly found in trees of southern Asia including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Himalayas, southern China, and Iran. They were formerly a subspecies of the collared scops owl.

What class of animal does an Indian scops owl belong to?

The Indian scops owl belongs to the class of birds from the Strigidae family, genus Otus and it has the scientific name of Otus bakkamoena.

How many Indian scops owls are there in the world?

The exact population of the Indian scops owl, Otus bakkamoena, is unknown. Their numbers should be fairly stable as they are a Least Concern species.

Where does an Indian scops owl live?

The brown Indian scops owl lives in the woods or forests of southern Asia. This includes India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Himalayas, and Iran. In India, this bird can range across Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala, and Gir forest in Gujrat to many other states.

What is an Indian scops owl's habitat?

The Indian scops owl, Otus bakkamoena, prefers a habitat with plenty of trees that can help them camouflage during the day. These birds are mainly found in wooded areas, mountains, and lowland forests.

Who do Indian scops owls live with?

They are a solitary animal that stays alone and is rarely seen together with other owls. They are only found in pairs during the breeding season or when a mother is tending to her young. Their nest is usually in tree holes or abandoned nests in forests.

How long does an Indian scops owl live?

The average Indian scops owl lifespan is not known but like other scops owls, it should be around 11-12 years.

How do they reproduce?

The Indian scops owl, Otus bakkamoena, is known to nest in tree holes, abandoned buildings, rocks, or abandoned nests at a moderate height. The breeding season can vary according to location and range. For example, they can lay about three to four eggs in the southern range and four to five eggs in the northern range. The incubation period of this owl lasts from 28 to 29 days and the chicks can become fledglings in 21 to 25 days. Parent owls will feed the young ones for three to four weeks until the young birds are ready to become independent.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this resident owl species is Least Concern, which means that their population is stable and is not in any immediate danger. Other variations of the scops owl, such as the Philipines scops owl are also listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

Indian Scops Owl Fun Facts

What does an Indian scops owl look like?

The Indian scops owl, Otus bakkamoena, is considered to be one of the largest scops owls. The plumage on their upper side is pale gray or brown and it has light buff spotting, depending on the morph or genetic mutation. The plumage below the buff has darker streaking and is denser on the legs. The underparts of this species are ochre-buff and become pale as they advance towards the belly. They have a whitish or buff face with small head tufts or facial discs, a buff neckband, and feathered toes in some subspecies. They also have a greenish-brown bill with a dark tip, pale horn-brown sharp claws, and pale ash, orange or brown eyes. They have an external yellowish-brown circle and a thin border around their facial disc. Their ear tufts are very prominent and are a major part of the facial disc. Their crown is darker than their mantle and their flight is undulating.

Discover the description and distribution of the gray morph Indian scops owl in India, Pakistan, and Nepal.

How cute are they?

The prominent ear tufts of this species gives them a very wise and owl-like look. They have a dark neckband and a gray bill, giving them the iconic scops owl look. While they may not be the cutest, they look very smart and can camouflage better than most birds.

How do they communicate?

These owls are generally silent but can communicate using calls. The call is a soft single note 'whuk' sound that is not heard very often.

How big is an Indian scops owl?

The average Indian scops owl size can range from 9-10 in (23-25 cm) with a wingspan of 24 in (60 cm) in flight. They are the same size as the collared scops owl and are two times larger than a hummingbird. Both genders are of similar length.

How fast can an Indian scops owl fly?

There are no studies that have estimated the speed of a scops owl.

How much does an Indian scops owl weigh?

The weight of this owl species can range from 4.4-5.6 oz (125-160 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male and female birds of this species.

What would you call a baby Indian scops owl?

Baby owls are called juveniles, chicks, or fledgings.

What do they eat?

The diet of this owl species is mainly carnivores and they feed on various insects like beetles and grasshoppers. This owl feeds mainly on rodents, small birds, and lizards. They are nocturnal and usually rest during the day, camouflaged on trees. They can be hunted by foxes, cats, hawks, eagles, and other owls. These owls are typically on the top of the food chain and may not be hunted that often.

Are they poisonous?

This owl is not poisonous or dangerous to human beings. Like typical owls, it tends to sit away on the trees and rarely interferes with humans.

Would they make a good pet?

While owls do look like really cool pets in movies, that is not always true in real life. Indian scops owl care is tedious as they need a lot of space and freedom to move around. They might not be easy to train either and they prefer preying for food in forests, making feeding difficult. Finding an Indian scops owl for sale is difficult as this owl species is not a good pet choice.

Did you know...

The call of an Indian scops owl, Otus bakkamoena, is very similar to that of a kitten. The call is a soft mew and is not heard often.

How did Indian scops owls get their name?

The name of this species is derived from 'bakamuna' which is the Sinhalese name for the white barn owl and the brown fish owl.

Is the Indian scops owl endangered?

The Indian scops owl is not an endangered species and has a stable population. Its found in many parts of South Asia. That includes parts of India like Rajasthan and elsewhere in Asia like the Himalayan area, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including hyacinth macaw facts for kids and ovenbird interesting facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable owl coloring pages.



At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.
No items found.