Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)


Sao Tome Scops-owl (Otus hartlaubi)


French: Petit-duc de Sao Tomé German: Hartlaub-Zwergohreule Spanish: Autillo de Santo Tomé

Noctua Hartlaubi


, 1872,

São Tomé Island


Affinities uncertain. Has been considered more closely related to O. rutilus than to any mainland African species, though song fairly similar to that of O. senegalensis; formerly suggested as a race of O. scops, but differs significantly in morphology and voice. Monotypic.


São Tomé I; report of possible presence on Príncipe.

Descriptive notes

c. 18 cm; c. 79 g. Small scops-owl with tiny ear-tufts. Facial disc light rufous-brown, with white chin and eyebrows; crown and upperparts warm rufous-brown with rufous... read more


High whistling trill, “hu-hu-hu-...”, rising slightly, higher-pitched and more mellow... read more


Densely foliaged primary and secondary forest, and plantations, from sea-level to 1300 m ... read more

Food and feeding

Stomach contents indicate insects, such as grasshoppers, beetles and moths; some small lizards also taken. Appears to be partly diurnal.... read more


Male with active gonads in Aug, fledglings observed in Oct; may breed before start of short rains during Aug–Oct. No other... read more


Presumably resident.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Previously considered Near Threatened. CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in São Tomé EBA. Poorly known, and for some time thought to be... 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., de Juana, E. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Sao Tome Scops-owl (Otus hartlaubi). 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 14 December 2019).