Jungle owlet

   ›      ›   Jungle owlet - Glaucidium radiatum

The jungle owlet (Glaucidium radiatum) belongs to the family of typical owls and owlets, Strigidae.

The jungle owlet species is distributed in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. These owlet species are crepuscular, mainly active at dawn and dusk. These owlets are polytypic species.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Jungle Owlet Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The jungle owlet (Glaucidium radiatum) is a small owlet, measuring 20 to 22 cm in length and weighing 90 to 120 grams.

The adult jungle owlet has round head and fine barring all over the body. The head, back and wings are brownish gray with white barring. The facial disc is indistinct and barred brown and cream. The subspecies G. r. malabaricum are more brownish.

These owlets have distinct white eyebrows. The tail is blackish brown with narrow white barring. The underparts are paler with broad brownish gray barring.

The bill is pale gray and curved. The irises are yellow. The legs are pale gray. Their call is a loud, barbet-like trilling "prao..prao..prao" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Jungle owlet - Glaucidium radiatum
1.Birds of India - Image of Jungle owlet - Glaucidium radiatum by Rudraksha Chodankar


Birds of India - Photo of Jungle owlet - Glaucidium radiatum
2.Indian birds - Picture of Jungle owlet - Glaucidium radiatum by Sandeep Gangadharan

Indian birds - Image of Jungle owlet - Glaucidium radiatum
3.Birds of India - Photo of Jungle owlet - Glaucidium radiatum by Bikash Das

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The jungle owlet species are distributed in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

In India, these owlet species are distributed in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.

The jungle owlet nominate subspecies G. r. radiatum is distributed in India (except southwestern India), Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and western Myanmar. The subspecies G. r. malabaricum is distributed in southwest India (Malabar and Nilgiris regions).

Ecosystem and habitat

These jungle owlet species have moderate forest dependence. They normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 2000 meters. The artificial ecosystems of these species include agricultural fields, rural gardens and plantations.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these jungle owlet species include, tropical and subtropical dry forests, secondary forests, dry shrublands, moist shrublands, dry grasslands, deciduous forests, scrub forests, wetlands and riverine habitats.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these jungle owlet consists mainly of insects. Small rodents, insects, locusts, grasshoppers, cicadas, lizards, snakes, frogs, bird eggs and nestlings are their primary food.

These owlets are mostly crepuscular, being active mainly at dawn and dusk. The peak foraging time is an hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset. Occasionally they hunt during the day.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of the jungle owlet species is from March to May in India. In Nepal the breeding season is from March to June. Their nesting sites are tree cavities. These birds are monogamous and territorial.

The nest is a unlined tree hollow. The nest may be located as high as six meters above the ground. The typical clutch contains 2-4 eggs. Both the parents incubate the eggs and take care of hatchlings.

Migration and movement patterns

These jungle owlet species are non-migratory resident birds. The birds in higher altitudes may move to lower levels during 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.

Jungle owlet - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Glaucidium radiatum
  • Species author: (Tickell, 1833)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Strix Radiata Tickell, 1833
  • Family: Strigidae › Strigiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Jungle owlet, Chinese: 丛林鸺鹠, French: Chevêchette de jungle, German: Dschungelzwergkauz, Spanish: Mochuelo de jungla, Russian: Джунглевый воробьиный сыч, Japanese: モリスズメフクロウ, Tamil: Chinna Kattu Aandhai
  • Other names: barred jungle owlet
  • Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, beetles, locusts, grasshoppers, cicadas, crickets, lizards, rodents, small birds, frogs
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the jungle owlet (Glaucidium radiatum) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be stable.

Throughout its range, this owlet species is reported to be fairly common. The generation length is 3.8 years. Its distribution size is about 3,470,000 sq.km.

Habitat alteration and destruction, hunting for traditional medicine and capture for pet-trade are the main threats that are endangering the survival of this owlet species.

IUCN and CITES status

The jungle owlet (Glaucidium radiatum) 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.

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 ‘Not Evaluated’ for jungle owlet (Glaucidium radiatum).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Glaucidium radiatum
Species:G. radiatum
Binomial name:Glaucidium radiatum
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The jungle owlet (Glaucidium radiatum) is closely related to the chestnut-backed owlet (Glaucidium castanotum).

The two recognized subspecies of jungle owlet (Glaucidium radiatum) are: Glaucidium radiatum radiatum (Tickell, 1833) and Glaucidium radiatum malabaricum (Blyth, 1846).
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1.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jungle_Owlet-9272_(cropped).jpg (cropped)
Photo author: Rudraksha Chodankar | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
2.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/23285057@N04/5778825934 (cropped)
Photo author: Sandeep Gangadharan | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 10/24/17
3.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bikashdas/15660075755/ (cropped)
Photo author: Bikash Das | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 10/24/17
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