Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Andaman Scops-owl (Otus balli)


French: Petit-duc des Andaman German: Andamanen-Zwergohreule Spanish: Autillo de Andamán

Ephialtes Balli

A. O. Hume

, 1873,

South Andaman Island


Probably closest to O. alfredi and O. spilocephalus. Has been considered conspecific with African O. icterorhynchus on basis of morphology, but significant differences in plumage and vocal characters indicate that the two are better treated as separate species. Some authors have included Sumatran form “stresemanni” of O. spilocephalus (which see) as race of present species, or regarded the two species as close relatives. Monotypic.


Andaman Is.

Descriptive notes

18–19 cm. Occurs in rufous and grey-brown morphs, former less variegated. Fairly prominent ear-tufts and pale eyebrows; upperparts sparsely peppered with black and... read more


A strong, loud “hoot! hoot-curroo”, with characteristically rolled “r”.


Trees in semi-open areas, settlements and cultivated areas; gardens; has been known to enter... read more

Food and feeding

Primarily caterpillars, also beetles and other insects. Captures caterpillars from foliage by sidling up to them in a parrot-like fashion.... read more


Lays Feb–Apr. Nest in natural tree hollow or in abandoned hole of woodpecker or barbet, usually 2–4 m above ground. 2–3... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in Andaman Islands EBA. Range 5800 km2. Considered quite common, or at least readily... read more

Recommended citation

Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P., Wood, K.L. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Andaman Scops-owl (Otus balli). 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 7 December 2019).