Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)


Seychelles Scops-owl (Otus insularis)


French: Petit-duc scieur German: Seychellen-Zwergohreule Spanish: Autillo de Seychelles

Gymnoscops insularis


, 1880,

Mahé Island, Seychelles


Originally placed in monotypic genus Gymnoscops on basis of its unfeathered tarsi and feet, and vestigial ear-tufts. Formerly considered a race of O. rutilus, but vocalizations totally dissimilar. Sometimes treated as race of O. magicus, this supported by voice comparisons, but morphological differences suggest better regarded as separate species#R. Recent genetic analyses indicate that it is closer to O. sunia than to other Malagasy scops-owls#R#R, and also suggest that it is close to O. socotranus#R. Monotypic.


Mahé I, in Seychelles. Unconfirmed reports also from Praslin and Félicité.

Descriptive notes

c. 20 cm. Resembles yellowish-brown or rufous morph of O. magicus, but smaller, and with minute ear-tufts (even in alert posture); differs further in unfeathered... read more


Song, more drawn-out and less grunting, with shorter intervals between calls than in O. magicus... read more


Virtually all records from secondary forest on upper slopes and in valleys, at 250–710 m... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, tree-frogs and lizards (e.g. Scelotes gardineri) probably most important prey; stomach contents have included... read more


Until recently, data were few and sparse, and subject to much speculation. High-pitched whistle apparently given during copulation, heard... read more



Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. CITES II. Previously regarded as Critically Endangered. Restricted-range species: present in Granitic Seychelles EBA. Following its discovery in 1880, and despite... 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., Kirwan, G.M. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Seychelles Scops-owl (Otus insularis). 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 17 January 2020).