Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

African Long-eared Owl (Asio abyssinicus)


French: Hibou d’Abyssinie German: Afrika-Waldohreule Spanish: Búho abisinio
Other common names: Abyssinian Owl, Abyssinian Long-eared Owl

Otus abyssinicus


, 1843,



Closely related to A. otus and A. madagascariensis. Has been treated as race of A. otus, but considered specifically distinct on grounds of biometrics, and plumage and vocal differences. Race graueri sometimes considered inseparable. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. a. abyssinicus (Guérin-Méneville, 1843) – highlands of Ethiopia.
  • A. a. graueri Sassi, 1912 – Rwenzori and Mitumba Mts in E DRCongo–W Uganda and Rwanda, and Mt Kenya#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    42–44 cm; 245–400 g (female c. 5% larger than male). Very similar to allopatric A. otus; head buffy, with dark brown bars, and long brown ear... read more


    Male gives deep “who-woohm”, drawn out and rising in pitch, repeated every few seconds... read more


    Open highlands, montane forest, moorland, and grassland with patches of cedar and oak; in Ethiopia... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little information. Ninety-two prey items identified in pellets collected beneath a giant heath at 3940 m in highlands of Ethiopia made up... read more


    Very little information. Suspected to nest from Jan–Jun in abandoned stick nest of other bird, much like is typical for A.... read more


    No information. Presumably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Scarce to rather rare throughout range, with almost nothing known about its ecology, population trends, or limiting factors... read more

    Recommended citation

    Olsen, P.D. & Marks, J.S. (2019). African Long-eared Owl (Asio abyssinicus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 8 December 2019).