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Scientific Name:

Otus capnodes

Population Status:


Body Length:

7.5-8.5 in (20-22 cm)





What makes a raptor a raptor?

Did you know?

  • Being endemic isn't the only thing the Anjouan Scops Owl has in common with the Forest Owlet. Both of these species were considered to be extinct for over 100 years before they were rediscovered!

The Peregrine Fund is not working directly with Anjouan Owls, but our conservation efforts through habitat protection, education, and community outreach extend to all raptor species, including this small owl. We also supply literature to researchers from our avian research library, which helps scientists around the world gather and share important information on raptor conservation.

Just as the Forest Owlet is endemic to India, the Anjouan Scops Owl is also an endemic species. In the case of the Anjouan Scops Owl, however, it is found only on the island of Anjouan in the Comoro Islands - a chain of volcanic islands located in the Indian Ocean - off the coast of Africa.

Even though it has a very small distribution range - the total area of Anjouan is only 163 square miles (424 square kilometers) - and this marvelous owl only inhabits a portion of the island - it has proven to be adept at surviving in a few different types of habitats. While it is most abundant in its native upland forests, it has been able to make a living and survive in forests that have been degraded or altered at as low as 300 meters above sea level. Scientists have even located this species in plantations.

Perhaps one of the most important features it looks for - no matter what - is the presence of nearby large trees growing on steep slopes. These are used for roosting - or resting during the day.

The Anjouan Scops Owl is a small owl with overall dark plumage, and lots of barring and streaking. It has a light facial disk and bright eyes. Like the Short-eared Owl, the Anjouan Scops Owl is equipped with ear tufts. These are not actually the bird's ears, but they do resemble the pointy ear structures of some mammals.

The Anjouan Scops Owl comes in two different color forms. Some individuals are dark brown, while others are more of a reddish-brown. Both color forms hang out with each other.

The Anjouan Scops Owl has a very distinctive call - a long, drawn-out whistle that they repeat several times with short pauses in between.

Sadly, there are so many critically endangered and endangered species that we still have so much to learn about. This is the case of the Anjouan Scops Owl. While its population is estimated to be at around 100-200 individuals, itis threatened by continued loss of forest habitat due to logging, charcoal, or agricultural fields.

Sadly, many Anjouan Scops Owl are also killed (and sometimes eaten!) by the growing human population on the island.

Even though its population is declining , the Anjouan Scops Owl was recently uplisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered because it was discovered in more areas on Anjouan than previously thought.

If you are wondering what Anjouan Scops Owls eat, you aren't the only one! Scientists believe that insects make up a good part of their diet. But they don't know anything else. Does it eat small birds, lizards and rodents, too? Does it hunt prey much larger than itself, like the Northern Pygmy Owl does? It is active during the day, like the Burrowing Owl? Or is it nocturnal, like most other owls? Does it sit on a perch and wait for prey to pass by, and then pounce? Or does it hover low over the ground in search of a meal?

There are so many questions we still need answered. Will we be able to protect the Anjouan Scops Owl in time to learn more?

Just as the Anjouan Scops Owl uses large trees growing on steep slopes for roosting - they also need them for nesting.

It might be hard to believe, but this is pretty much all we know about the nesting behavior and ecology of the Anjouan Owl. We believe they nest in tree cavities, probably during the wet season (August to December) but the rest of their breeding habits remain a mystery.

The World Center for Birds of Prey offers fun ways to learn about birds of prey. Interactive activities, tours, interesting videos and a children's room with activities from coloring sheets to quizzes to costumes await you. At our visitor center, you can see live owls up close and learn about the wonderful and interesting adaptations they have in order to survive in their respective habitats. There is also a touch table with owl feathers and other natural objects available for exploration.

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