17 Fang-tastic Facts About Madagascar Red Owl For Kids

Read these interesting Madagascar red owl facts

The Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei) is also known as Soumange's owl, Madagascar grass owl, or red owl. Madagascar is a barn owl of the Tytonidae family. These species are rare birds of the world. Due to habitat loss, they are currently vulnerable. Recent studies show that they might cover even more range of habitats. Further research needs to be done about their ecology and distribution. It is a possibility that the research about these nocturnal species has been overlooked as they are closely related and also have similar description to barn owls. These red owls look similar to cosmopolitan barn owls but are much smaller. As the name suggests, these owls are orange-red colored with black spots. In August 1995, the first nest of tyto soumagnei in Madagascar was found in Ambanizana. Tyto genus consists of all barn owls except for the bay-owls (Phodilus). These nocturnal species live on the east extension of Madagascar.

If you like reading this article, check out these tawny owl facts and barn owl facts for more.

Madagascar Red Owl

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

2 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.71 lb (323 g)

How long are they?

10.8-11.8 in (27.5-30 cm)

How tall are they?

8.2 in (20.9 cm) (wingspan)

What do they look like?

Body: orange-red Facial disk: grey or brown

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Humans and deforestation

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them

Rainforest, and dry, humid evergreen forests- forest edges, tavies, rice paddies, rock ledges, and cave entrances


Island of Madagascar





Scientific Name

Tyto soumagnei





Madagascar Red Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Madagascar red owl?

The Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei) is a barn owl of the genus Tyto and order Strigiformes. Like any other owl, this species is nocturnal and hunts for food at night. This species is involved in diurnal roosting. As per an observation on a captive red owl, this owl only feeds on live prey. They hold the prey with their talons and eat head first before consuming the body of the prey. They regurgitate the pellets. This owl species nests in tree cavities and natural holes.

What class of animal does a Madagascar red owl belong to?

Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei) is an owl of the class Aves of animals.

How many Madagascar red owls are there in the world?

The Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei) population is around 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Where does a Madagascar red owl live?

Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei) is known to live on the North and East extension of Madagascar Island. The previous range of habitat covered by this species was restricted to the northern and eastern forest of Madagascar. Recent studies show that they cover the northern and eastern half range of Madagascar and a few in the southeast lowlands of Tsitogambarika. Due to this distribution of tyto soumagnei in Madagascar, it is proposed that these birds are isolated rather than rare.

What is a Madagascar red owl's habitat?

The altitude range for the Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei) is from the sea level to 6561.6 ft (2000 m). They occupy a wide range of habitat from dry deciduous forest and rainforest to humid evergreen forest.  They roost on rock ledges in cave entrances or ravines near the primary and secondary vegetated forest.  These regions are about 12.1 ft (3.7 m) above the ground. They hunt along forest edges, tavies, and rice paddies.

Who does Madagascar red owl live with?

Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei) lives on their own or in pairs.

How long does a Madagascar red owl live?

The lifespan of the Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei) is 1-30 years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding process of Madagascar grass owl is not known. This bird breeds in a similar way to the barn owls (Tyto alba). The male bird performa courtship displays and leads the female. The male bird shows nesting areas to the female. Males bring food to the nest. Only one nest of red owls was found above 23 m (76 ft) from the ground. This nest was closely observed and the chicks stayed in the nest for four months. This species build nests in tree cavities. The clutch size and breeding season depend on food availability. With abundant food resources, the clutch size increases in two, to four eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this bird is Vulnerable. The population is declining due to deforestation and the fragmentation of its habitat. Deforestation is caused by the burning of forest for farming and commercial logging.

Madagascar Red Owl Fun Facts

What do Madagascar red owl look like?

Madagascar red owls only eat native prey but barn owls feed on introduced species too
* Please note that this is an image of a beige and gray owl, not a Madagascar red owl. If you have an image of a Madagascar red owl, please let us know at

These red owls have overall orange-rufous plumage. The upper part is reddish-orange with black spots with grey or brown facial disk. The upper-wing coverts has black bars and the under-wing coverts is cinnamon color. They have black-colored eyes, pale grey beak, and flesh-colored cere. The feet are smoke-grey in color. The chicks have a plumage that resembles that of the adults. They have an orange-rufous tail.

How cute are they?

Owls are usually considered cute. So, these heart-shaped owls are cute.

How do they communicate?

These birds commucate by vocalization, touch, visual, and body language. Their call is a screech. When they leave their roosts they screech in response to other red owls. They also make a "wok-wok-wok" sound.

How big is a Madagascar red owl?

The length of a Madagascar red owl is 10.8-11.8 in (27.5-30 cm). The wing-length is around 8.2 in (20.9 cm). The tail is 3.9 in (10 cm) and the beak is 0.45 in (1.14 cm). They have 2.2 in (5.6 cm) long and 0.23 in (0.6 cm) wide tarsus.

How fast can a Madagascar red owl fly?

These owls are silent flyers. They make no noise in flight. The data on the red owl's flight speed is not available. However, the great horned owl flies up to 40 mph (64.37 kph).

How much does a Madagascar red owl weigh?

The weight of Madagascar red owl is 0.71 lb (323 g)

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to female and male red owls.

What would you call a baby Madagascar red owl?

A baby red owl is called an owlet.

What do they eat?

These carnivorous red owls search and hunt live prey. This owl feeds on insects, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. They eat native mammals like tenrecs and tufted-tail rats. Other prey includes frogs, geckoes, and rodents. The total weight of prey in their diet is between 0.02-0.22 lb (9.07 -100 g).

Are they dangerous?

These native Madagascar owls are dangerous predators in their food chain.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these wild animals do not make good pet. They like being in and around forests.

Did you know...

Owl species are classified into two families based on their facial structure; Tytonidae family owls have a heart-shaped face and Strigidae family owls have a round face.

Barn owls do not chew their food but swallow them in one piece.

Barn owls store food in their nesting sites.

They have the ability to memorize sounds.

Owls have different sized ears that are placed at varying heights and also face different directions.

Owls symbolise wisdom as per ancient Greece mythology. It is believed that owls are emperors of night and protect humans from danger.

How many eggs do Madagascar red owl lay?

These owls produce two white eggs.

Are Madagascar red owl endemic?

Yes, these birds are endemic to Madagascar Island.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these greater flamingo facts or blue jay facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Madagascar red owl coloring pages.



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