Scops Owl: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Read these interesting scops owl facts to learn more about this owl with around 45 different species.

In the late 19th century, ornithologists knew little of the variation of these cryptic birds, and with every new taxonomic unit being described, a few differences between the Old World and the New World scops owl came into the limelight. These birds are considered to be closely related to screech owls. They belong to the genus Otus. Otus is the largest genus of owls as they have 45 species under them. They have a large head and very cute ear tufts.

We've gathered some great facts for you to enjoy. If you liked reading these, you could also check out Japanese scops owl facts and Ural owl facts.

Scops Owl

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, reptiles, small birds, mice, bats

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.13-0.29 lb (58.9-131.5 g)

How long are they?

6-8 in (15.2-20.3 cm)

How tall are they?

6-7 in (15.2-17.7 cm)

What do they look like?

Gray, red, brown

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them



North America, Europe, Africa





Scientific Name






Scops Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a scops owl?

A scops owl is a type of bird.

What class of animal does a scops owl belong to?

The scops owls belong to the class Aves.

How many scops owls are there in the world?

The exact number of scops owls is not known, but there are about 45 species of this bird.

Where does a scops owl live?

These birds live in central, east, and south of Europe, and in Africa, north of Sahara, from Morocco to Tunisia. They also inhabit south and central Asia.

What is a scops owl's habitat?

Scops owls mostly live in semi-open or open countryside with scattered trees or small woods, rocky landscapes anywhere where there is a tall tree is a perfect habitat for them. In warm climates, they are found in mountainous regions, and in winters, they prefer savannas with trees. However, these owls do not prefer dense forests as a habitat.

Who do scops owls live with?

The Otus scops live in pairs where the males mostly built the nest in the tall tree, and they live with their young ones for few months after they are born till they grow and fledge.

How long does a scops owl live?

The Eurasian scops owl has a lifespan of 12 years which is pretty long for a bird.

How do they reproduce?

The scops owls are monogamous in nature and fledge only one young per year. Most of their species lay and incubate the eggs in captivity nests originally made by other birds, or the female will come to the nests prepared by the male during the breeding season. The female lays three to four eggs. The male often brings the food to the nest while the females incubate the eggs. The breeding season might be varied in different regions, but they mostly breed in winter.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the scops owl Otus is at Least Concern as they are widely found worldwide in locations like South Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Scops Owl Fun Facts

What do scops owls look like?

Their plumage is patterned similar to the bark of trees, which helps them camouflage better among the trees where they perch for finding food. The plumage is mostly of brown color with lighter undersides; some of them have gray plumage. They have yellow eyes, and their bill is gray. The flight feathers are barred, dark and pale, so is their short tail. The female owls are larger than the male.

Scops owls have large heads, facial disks, ear tufts, as well as hawk-like beaks and claws.

How cute are they?

Some might consider them as cute as they are fluffy, while others might not as they look pretty weird with their head and yellow eyes.

How do they communicate?

Unlike screech owls, scops owls have only a single type of call. They communicate through a series of whistles or high-pitched hoots. However, the calls differ between their species. They give a whistling call, the call is given as social interaction or when they try to scare away other animals. They have a particular song, which is a short sequence of calls given by the male to attract the female to their nest during the breeding season.

How big is a scops owl?

The Otus scops is generally a small owl, but the females are generally larger than the males. This bird has a length of 6-8 in (15.2-20.3 cm) in range and a wingspan of 6-7 in (15.2-17.7 cm) range. Their tail has a length of around 2.3-2.9 in (5.8-7.3 cm). They are larger than elf owls, which are considered to be the smallest owl.

How fast can a scops owl fly?

The Eurasian scops owl can fly pretty fast as they swoop on their prey so fast and grab them with their talons that they don't have time to escape.

How much does a scops owl weigh?

They weigh around the range of 0.13-0.29 lb (58.9-131.5 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Scops owls are distinguished as male and female scops owls only. They don't have any sex-specific names as such.

What would you call a baby scops owl?

The baby owls are called owlet or young owl, any general term used for common owls.

What do they eat?

They generally feed on insects like worms, small birds, small mammals, whatever food is found near the tree they build their nest on. They catch the larger prey by swooping on them and catching hold of them with their talons, whereas the smaller animals are caught with the beak.

Are they dangerous?

Scops owls (Otus genus) are dangerous as they are wild predators with sharp talons. That being said, they normally don't harm humans unless they are threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they would not make good pets as they are predatory wild birds with sharp beaks and claws.

Did you know...

Scops owls are small and are easily preyed on, and thus they have brown and gray plumage, which helps them camouflage and help them blend into their environment, thus remaining unnoticed to the potential predator. When they are afraid, this bird becomes very slim with ear tufts erected straight.

The Philippine scops owl is also a Least Concern species, like the scops owl.

Blakiston's fish owl (Bubo blakistoni) is the rarest species of the owl.

Different types of scops owl

There are different species of scops owl like the Indian, oriental, collard, mountain, African, and Eurasian scops owl, as there are about 45 species of scops owl found all around the world.

Comparisons with other owls

The Japanese scops owl is found in Japan and is closely related to the Indian scops owl, and along with the white-faced scops owl is from Asia. The Eurasian scops owl is found in Southern Europe and Africa. All of these birds have similar colors except the white-faced scops owl, which has a white brow.

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 hummingbird facts and dodo facts for kids.

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



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