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A Complete Guide About Eurasian Scops Owl Species

The Eurasian Scops Owl (Otus scops), commonly known as the European scops owl or simply the scops owl, is a small owl that belongs to the Strigidae family, which includes other owls. Its breeding area ranges from southern Europe eastwards to southern Siberia and the western Himalayas, with the highest concentrations in southern Europe. It is a migratory bird that spends the winter in Africa south of the Sahara.

Brown eurasian scops owl siiting on a branch of a tree
Brown eurasian scops owl siiting on a branch of a tree

Carl Linnaeus' Systema Naturae

The Eurasian scops owl was the first bird of prey to be formally described, according to Carl Linnaeus' Systema Naturae (System of Natural History), which was published in its tenth edition in 1758. Linnaeus acknowledged the 1599 account of the Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi, placed it in the genus Strix with all the other owls, and devised the binomial name Strix scops to distinguish it from the other owls.

Most experts agree that the Eurasian scops owl belongs to the Otus family, which was named after the Welsh naturalist Thomas Pennant when it was originally reported in 1769 and named after him after he died in 1830. The genus name, Otus, is derived from the Latin word for "eared owl." It is believed that the particular epithet scops are derived from the Ancient Greek word 'skps', which in English translates as "little-eared owl."

Eurasian Scops Owls

Eurasian scops owls are approximately 19–21 cm (7.5–8.3 in) in length and have a wingspan of 47–54 centimeters (19–21 in) when fully extended. Despite being slightly smaller in stature than the little owl, it is nonetheless rather remarkable in appearance. It has short ear tufts and maintains an erect posture addition to that.

Despite the fact that the majority of the bird's plumage is grey-brown in hue, the bird's face, underparts, and shoulder line are paler than the rest of its body. In keeping with its migratory tendencies, this species possesses a powerful direct flight on long, narrow wings.

Geographical Distribution And Natural Habitat

This species breeds in southern Europe, and its range extends eastward into western and central Asia, as well as northern Africa. During the month of October 2021, it was observed in the Newtown neighborhood near Kolkata for a limited length of time.

It was the first time anyone has seen one in eastern India. It is extremely rare anywhere north of its breeding zone, and it is most often seen as a spring overrun. The presence of this nocturnal bird outside of the breeding season when it is not calling is extremely uncommon to occur.

Do Scops Owl Migrate?

It is a migratory bird that winters in southernmost Europe and sub-Saharan Africa during the breeding season.

Summer migratory to warmer climes, with wintering grounds in the Mediterranean and Africa, this species is extremely widespread in its wintering grounds. A song that is monotonously repeated can also be heard. Scops Owls are rarely seen during the day because of their cryptic, bark-like plumage, which allows them to sleep in trees and hollows that are shadowed by trees and other structures. Take note of the animal's petite stature, ear tufts (which are raised when the cat is alert), and golden yellow eyes, among other characteristics.

Brown eurasian scops owl sitting on a branch of a tree
Brown eurasian scops owl sitting on a branch of a tree

This species tends to lay eggs in groups of two to six, though the most usual number is three or four. The eggs are incubated for 24 or 25 days by the female, though this can go up to 31 days in some cases. In the winter, it spends the winter in Africa south of the Sahara but returns to our territories in the spring.

Eurasian Scops Owl Sound

The male's song is composed of extended repetitions of single, monosyllabic flute-like tones with a downward inflection that lasts 0.2-0.3 seconds apiece and is spaced by 2-3 seconds - kyoot kyoot kyoot... The unpaired female sings a song that is similar to the paired female's, but it is more drawn-out and higher in pitch. During a pair's performance, the female produces high-pitched and slightly raspy tones. Male and female duet in a way that produces the sense of a two-syllable song with higher and lower-pitched notes during the wooing process. The call is a deep whistle that both sexes use to communicate. It sounds similar to the call of midwife toads, which belong to the genus Alytes (midwife toad).

The contact phone call is a quiet phew note from the other end of the line. When disturbed, both sexes emit a loud, piercing kweeoh sound, which is comparable to that of a Little Owl in pitch and intensity.

Hunting And Food

The Eurasian Scops Owl mostly eats insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, moths, and cicadas, but it will also eat a variety of other small animals. It is also possible to obtain spiders, caterpillars, and earthworms, as well as tiny vertebrates such as small mammals, birds, reptiles, and frogs, amongst other things. They are frequently attracted to artificial lighting in order to swoop down and capture moths and other insects that have taken up residence nearby. Larger prey is typically captured by swooping down on them from a perch. Generally, smaller prey is captured with the bill, whereas larger prey is captured with the talons. Pellets are approximately 25 x 20mm in size.

People have their own opinions about this Eurasian Scops Owl. Check some of them out.

"When you're so high you become one with the tree."

_kingferret53

"The owl that barks....... A howler!"

_SphericalBitch2020

"He has nothing but contempt for the photographer."

_SpaceSpiderApe

"How would you like it if I came to your house and took pictures of you, camera boy?”

_InfernalCape

Conclusion

This Eurasian Scops Owl species can be found in a variety of open forests, orchards, and parks. A single plaintive hoot that carries rather well can be heard at night when the bird is most active.

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