Family Barn-owls (Tytonidae)


Madagascar Red Owl (Tyto soumagnei)


French: Effraie de Soumagne German: Malegasseneule Spanish: Lechuza malgache
Other common names: Red Owl

Heliodilus Soumagnei

A. Grandidier

, 1878,



Close relative of the T. alba group of taxa, perhaps constituting a small, dark, island form of latter. Sufficiently differentiated, however, always to have been regarded as a separate species, and, indeed, sometimes placed in a separate genus, Heliodilus. Monotypic.


N & E Madagascar.

Descriptive notes

27–30 cm; 323–435 g. Plumage suffused orange-red, darker (ochre-yellow to reddish-ochre) above and paler (more ochre) below, with fine black spots; tail... read more


Loud, eerie, hissing screech, “shreeee”, dropping toward end and lasting c. 1... read more


Traditionally linked with undisturbed rainforest at 800–1300 m. However, recent studies... read more

Food and feeding

Almost exclusively small native mammals (insectivores and rodents), especially shrewlike tenrecs (Microgale talazaci, M.... read more


Only one nest described: site c. 23 m above ground in natural tree cavity in isolated Weinmannia 500 m from edge of main forest... read more


Apparently sedentary; radio-tagged bird was sedentary over 15 months within range of 210 ha,... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. CITES I. Restricted-range species: present in East Malagasy Wet Forests EBA. Previously listed as Endangered. Current population estimated at fewer than 10,000... read more

Recommended citation

Bruce, M.D., Kirwan, G.M. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Madagascar Red Owl (Tyto soumagnei). 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 20 February 2020).