Monday, December 19

Oriental scops owl

   ›      ›   Oriental scops owl - Otus sunia.

The oriental scops owl (Otus sunia) belongs to the family of typical owls, Strigidae.

These species of owls are distributed in Indian subcontinent, China, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Indochina region, Myanmar and Southeast Asia. The oriental scops owls are small and agile and are polymorphic occurring as greyish and brownish morphs. There are nine recognized subspecies of these owls.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Oriental scops owl - Overview

  • Scientific name: Otus sunia
  • Species author: (Hodgson, 1836)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Scops sunia Hodgson, 1836
  • Family: Strigidae › Strigiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Oriental scops owl, Chinese: 红角鸮, French: Petit-duc d’Orient German: Orient-Zwergohreule Spanish: Autillo oriental, Russian: Усурийская, Japanese: コノハズク, Indonesian: Burung Celepuk Asia, Malay: Burung Jampuk Kecil
  • Other names: Common Scops-Owl, East Asian Screech-Owl, Eastern Scops-Owl
  • Distribution: Indian subcontinent, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, vietnam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, south Korea, North Korea, Japan, Russia
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, spiders, small rodents, lizards, small birds
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The nine recognized subspecies of the Otus sunia are: O. s. japonicus Temminck & Schlegel, 1844, O. s. stictonotus (Sharpe, 1875), O. s. modestus (Walden, 1874), O. s. nicobaricus (A. O. Hume, 1876), O. s. malayanus (Hay, 1845), O. s. distans Friedmann & Deignan, 1939, O. s. sunia (Hodgson, 1836) , O. s. leggei Ticehurst, 1923 and O. s. rufipennis (Sharpe, 1875).

Appearance, physical description and identification

The oriental scops owl (Otus sunia) is a small nocturnal bird, measuring 18 to 22 cm in length and weighing 75 to 95 grams. The wingspan is 50 to 53 cm.
These owl species occur as grey-brown and rufous morphs. Intermediate colors in plumage is also recorded. The ear-tufts are occasionally erect. The eyes are yellow and the feet are gray. Dark streaking is found on the upper and under parts. There is whitish scapular stripe. The owl call is a repeated "tuk tok torok" sound.
Picture of Oriental scops owl - Otus sunia
Image of Oriental scops owl - Otus sunia by Tong Mu
Photo of Oriental scops owl - Otus sunia
Picture of Oriental scops owl - Otus sunia by Sergey Yeliseev
Birds of India - Image of Oriental scops owl - Otus sunia
Birds of India - Photo of Oriental scops owl - Otus sunia by David Cook

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These oriental scops owl species are distributed in Indian subcontinent, China, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Indochina region, Myanmar and Southeast Asia. The subspecies Otus sunia sunia is distributed in northern Pakistan, northern and northeast India and Bangladesh. The subspecies Otus sunia nicobaricus is distributed in Nicobar Islands.

The oriental scops owl subspecies Otus sunia malayanus is distributed in southern China and winters in southern Myanmar, southern Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia (Sumatra). The subspecies Otus sunia modestus is distributed in Andaman Islands. The subspecies Otus sunia distans is distributed in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

The oriental scops owl subspecies Otus sunia leggei is distributed in Sri Lanka. The subspecies Otus sunia rufipennis is distributed in South India. The subspecies Otus sunia stictonotus is distributed in Siberia, Sakhalin Island, northeast China and North Korea. It winters in southern China and Malay Peninsula. The subspecies Otus sunia japonicus is distributed in Japan.

Ecosystem and habitat

These oriental scops owl species are moderately forest dependent. They inhabit various woodland ecosystems. They inhabit deciduous and open evergreen forests, farmlands, fallow agricultural fields, parks, rural gardens, plantations, submontane dry deciduous forests, degraded forests, subtropical forests, dry tropical shrubland, temperate shrubland, boreal forest and temperate forests. They occur in altitudes from 0 to 1500 meters.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these owl species is mostly large insects. Insects like grasshoppers, locusts and cicadas and mantises are the primary food. The oriental scops owls also feed on small mammals, small birds and lizards. They feed along the edge of the forest and also in open areas in the woodland.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these oriental scops owl species is from February to May in India and Pakistan. The breeding season is from April to June in Siberia and China and in May and June in Japan. They nest in tree holes.

Migration and movement patterns

These oriental scops owl species are sedentary and resident birds in the southern parts of their range.
The owl populations in eastern temperate Asia (Russia, China, Japan, North Korea and South Korea) are migratory and move southwards to southern Thailand, southwest Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia (Sumatra) for wintering. Post breeding dispersal of the oriental scops owl juveniles takes place. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the oriental scops owl (Otus sunia) is not quantified. The overall population size of these owl species is considered to be stable. Throughout its ranges it is common and very abundant. Their generation length is 3.7 years.

The oriental scops owl does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion. Environmental pollutants, habitat conversion, hunting and trade are the main threats to the survival of these oriental scops owl species.

IUCN and CITES status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the owl species (Otus sunia) and has listed it as of "Least Concern". CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the oriental scops owl.
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Otus sunia
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Strigiformes
Family:Strigidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Otus
Species:O. sunia
Binomial name:Otus sunia
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mu_tong/9346802267/
Image author: Tong Mu | License: CC BY-NC 2.0 (as on 2016-12-18)
2.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/19019538609/in/photostream/
Image author: Sergey Yeliseev | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0(as on 2016-12-18)
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Image author: David Cook | License: CC BY-NC 2.0 (as on 2016-12-18)
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