Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Pallid Scops-owl (Otus brucei)


French: Petit-duc de Bruce German: Streifen-Zwergohreule Spanish: Autillo persa
Other common names: Striated Scops-owl, Bruce's Scops-owl

Ephialtes Brucei

A. O. Hume

, 1872,

Rahuri, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India


Has often been considered a race of O. scops or O. sunia, but significant differences in voice and morphology, and no hybridization in areas of range overlap. O. pamelae and O. socotranus have occasionally been included in present species. Geographical boundaries of races unclear, with apparent intergradation, and individuals showing intermediate characters (e.g. between obsoletus and exiguus); Turkish birds sometimes placed in exiguus; semenowi and, especially, obsoletus sometimes considered only intergrades. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. b. brucei (A. O. Hume, 1872) – E Aral Sea to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
  • O. b. obsoletus (Cabanis, 1875) – S Turkey, N Syria, N Iraq, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and N Afghanistan.
  • O. b. semenowi (Zarudny & Härms, 1902) – S Tajikistan and W China (E to C Tarim Basin) S to E Afghanistan and N Pakistan.
  • O. b. exiguus Mukherjee, 1958 – Israel#R, C & E Iraq, S Iran, Oman, S Afghanistan, W Pakistan.
  • In winter from E Tajikistan S to E & S Pakistan and W India.

    Descriptive notes

    18–21 cm; wingspan 54–64 cm; 100–110 g. Pale scops-owl with distinct fine streaking and short ear tufts. Facial disc pale buffish-white, with thin dark... read more


    Male territorial call a long series of low, hollow “whoop” or “whoo” notes... read more


    Semi-open areas with trees and bushes, including cultivation, palm groves, orchards, riverine... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, such as beetles, moths, locusts and mole-crickets (Gryllotalpidae), and spiders; also small mammals (rodents, shrews, bats), birds... read more


    Pairing begins on arrival in N parts of range, usually Mar; lays Apr–May in most of range, to Jun in Uzbekistan. Very vocal during... read more


    Resident and migratory. Apparently resident in Iran, and thought primarily resident in Pakistan.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Status not well known; no information on global population size or population trends. Common in Iraq; scarce in Pakistan.... 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. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Pallid Scops-owl (Otus brucei). 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 24 January 2020).