Collared owlet

   ›      ›   Collared owlet - Glaucidium brodiei

The collared owlet (Glaucidium brodiei) belongs to the family of true owls and owlets, Strigidae.

The collared owlet species are distributed in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, southeast Asia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Taiwan and China. These owlet species are the smallest owls in Asia. These owlets are polytypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Collared Owlet Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Collared owlet - Overview

  • Scientific name: Glaucidium brodiei
  • Species author: (Burton, 1836)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Noctua Brodiei E. Burton, 1836
  • Family: Strigidae › Strigiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Collared owlet, Chinese: 领鸺鹠, French: Chevêchette à collier, German: Wachtelzwergkauz, Spanish: Mochuelo acollarado, Russian: Ошейниковый воробьиный сыч, Japanese: ヒメフクロウ, Indonesian: Belukwatu Gunung
  • Other names: Collared pigmy owlet
  • Distribution: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Afghanistan, Pakistan
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, small birds, lizards, small rodents
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Appearance, physical description and identification

The collared owlet (Glaucidium brodiei) is a small owl, measuring 15 to 17 cm in length. The female is slightly larger and weighs 60 grams while the male weighs 50 grams.

The overall plumage of these owlet species is shades of brown. The head is dark brown with pale buff dotting and barring. The facial disc is diffuse. There is a pale whitish collar. It is visible only when the neck is stretched.

The mantle, back, wings and rump are dark brown and mottled with pale buff and white bars. The tail is darker and has pale buff bands. The underparts are also brown with pale barring. The breast and belly region has whitish vertical patches.

The bill is prominent, curved and pale yellow. The irises are dark yellow. The feet are brown. The collared owlet call is a mellow whistling, "" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Collared owlet - Glaucidium brodiei
1.Birds of India - Image of Collared owlet - Glaucidium brodiei by soumyajit nandy

Birds of India - Photo of Collared owlet - Glaucidium brodiei
2.Indian birds - Picture of Collared owlet - Glaucidium brodiei by Allan Drewitt

Indian birds - Image of Collared owlet - Glaucidium brodiei
3.Birds of India - Photo of Collared owlet - Glaucidium brodiei by Prateik Kulkarni

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These collared owlet species are distributed in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In India, these collared owlets are distributed in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.

In China, these collared owlets are distributed in the provinces of Tibet, Yunnan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Henan, Hubei, Guizhou, Hunan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Fujian, Zhejiang, Anhui and Hainan.

The collared owlet nominate subspecies G. b. brodiei is distributed in northeast Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, Himalayan region of India, northeast India, south and southeast China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and peninsular Malaysia.

The collared owlet subspecies G. b. pardalotum is distributed in Taiwan. The subspecies G. b. sylvaticum is distributed in Sumatra (Indonesia). The subspecies G. b. borneense is distributed in Borneo (Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia).

Ecosystem and habitat

These collared owlet species has moderate forest dependence. These species normally occur in altitudes from 1350 to 2750 meters.

The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these owlet species include cultivated lands, plantations and trees around cultivated fields.

The natural ecosystems of these species include tropical and subtropical moist montane forests, primary forests, temperate forests, high altitude shrublands, temperate shrublands and oak, rhododendron and fir forests.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of collared owlet consists mainly of small birds. Large insects, grasshoppers, crickets, locust, cicadas, dragonflies, moths, beetles, mantids, small amphibians, reptiles, birds and rodents are their primary food.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of the collared owlet species is from March to June in Himalayan region. The laying season in Myanmar and Indochina is during April and May.

These collared owlet species are monogamous and pair for one or more breeding seasons. The male is territorial and leads the female through his territory. The male may also feed the female.

The nesting sites of these owlet species include tree cavities and old woodpecker holes. The clutch may contain four to seven eggs. The female does most of incubation and the male feeds the female.

The owlet chicks hatch out in four weeks. The female broods the chicks for a week and the male provides food. Later both the parents feed and care for the young. The nestlings fledge 30 to 34 days after hatching.

Migration and movement patterns

These collared owlet species are non-migratory resident birds. The birds in higher altitudes undertake altitudinal migration, moving to lower altitudes and foothills in winter.

Post breeding, the juvenile owlets may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the collared owlet (Glaucidium brodiei) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of these owlet species is reported to be decreasing.

Throughout its range this owlet species is reported to be common to fairly common. The generation length is 3.8 years. Its distribution size is about 14,400,000

Habitat degradation and fragmentation, hunting and trapping for pet trade are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these owlet species.

IUCN and CITES status

The collared owlet (Glaucidium brodiei) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable under the range size criterion or under the population trend criterion, or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the owlet species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Evaluated’ for collared owlet (Glaucidium brodiei) and listed in Appendix II.
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Glaucidium brodiei
Species:G. brodiei
Binomial name:Glaucidium brodiei
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The collared owlet (Glaucidium brodiei) is closely related to the Eurasian pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum).

The four recognized subspecies of the collared owlet are: Glaucidium brodiei brodiei (E. Burton, 1836), Glaucidium brodiei pardalotum (Swinhoe, 1863), Glaucidium brodiei sylvaticum (Bonaparte, 1850) and Glaucidium brodiei borneense Sharpe, 1893
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1.Image source:,_Uttarakhand,_India_(15143482586).jpg (cropped)
Image author: soumyajit nandy | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 as on 9/10/17
2.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: Allan Drewitt | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 9/10/17
3.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: Prateik Kulkarni | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
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