Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)


Serendib Scops-owl (Otus thilohoffmanni)


French: Petit-duc de Sérendip German: Ceylon-Zwergohreule Spanish: Autillo de Thilo Hoffmann

Otus thilohoffmanni

Warakagoda and Rasmussen

, 2004,

Morapitiya–Runakanda proposed reserve, 100 m, south-west Sri Lanka


Known from a single collected specimen and a few field observations. Although this species resembles other rufous scops-owls, it exhibits some marked differences, notably in skeletal characters and voice, and is undoubtedly a separate species; it may even merit separation in its own genus. Monotypic.


SW Sri Lanka.

Descriptive notes

c. 16·5 cm. A very small, short-tailed, relatively long-billed rufescent owl with ill-defined facial disc and no visible ear-tufts; when plumage sleeked, e.g. when... read more


Simple and easily overlooked. Female gives short piping, tremulous note “pú’... read more


Larger rainforest tracts in the wet zone, at 30–530 m. Often observed in disturbed areas with... read more

Food and feeding

Probably larger insects and small vertebrates. Often hunts in undergrowth, perching on thin angled and vertical twigs and stems.


No information.


Probably sedentary.

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Restricted-range species: present in Sri Lanka EBA. Has very small range, within which its population is correspondingly small. Estimated global population in... read more

Recommended citation

Fjeldså, J. (2020). Serendib Scops-owl (Otus thilohoffmanni). 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 21 January 2020).