Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)


Grand Comoro Scops-owl (Otus pauliani)


French: Petit-duc du Karthala German: Komoren-Zwergohreule Spanish: Autillo de las Comoras
Other common names: Comoro Scops-owl, Karthala Scops-owl

Otus rutilus pauliani


, 1960,

La Convalescence, 1700 m, Grand Comoro


Probably forms a species-group with O. rutilus, O. mayottensis, O. capnodes and O. moheliensis. Often considered a race of O. rutilus, but clear differences in vocalizations, morphology and habitat preferences indicate separate species#R. Monotypic.


Mt Karthala, on Grand Comoro (Ngazidja), in Comoro Is.

Descriptive notes

18–20 cm; male c. 70 g (n = 1). Small, relatively uniform scops-owl, with very small ear tufts rarely visible in the field. Occurs in light and dark morphs.... read more


Song a long series of short “gluk-gluk-gluk...” notes repeated at half-second... read more


Forest and forest edge on upland slopes, extending into adjoining tree-heath scrub; recorded from... read more

Food and feeding

Largely unknown, probably insects; 1 stomach contained beetle remains. Species’ weak talons suggest that it normally takes... read more


Probably lays Sept–Dec; very vocal throughout year. Highly territorial, territory size c. 5 ha. Nest in cavity.


Probably sedentary.

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in Comoro Islands EBA. Field studies in 1989 estimated a minimum of c. 1000 pairs to exist within the c. 100 km²... 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. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Grand Comoro Scops-owl (Otus pauliani). 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 29 February 2020).