Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Spotted Owlet (Athene brama)


French: Chevêche brame German: Brahmakauz Spanish: Mochuelo brahmán
Other common names: Spotted Little Owl, Grey-bellied Little Owl (“poikila”)

Strix brama


, 1821,

Pondicherry, India


Probably closest to A. noctua. Birds from S Iran and Pakistan sometimes separated subspecifically as albida. Putative Tibetan form described as poikila may be referable to Aegolius funereus, as supported by recent study#R. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. b. indica (Franklin, 1831) – S Iran and S Pakistan (possibly also S Afghanistan) E through N & C Indian Subcontinent to Bhutan and Bangladesh.
  • A. b. ultra Ripley, 1948 – NE India (Arunachal Pradesh and E Assam).
  • A. b. brama (Temminck, 1821) – S India.
  • A. b. pulchra A. O. Hume, 1873 – C & S Myanmar.
  • A. b. mayri Deignan, 1941 – N & E Myanmar, Thailand (except far S), S Laos, Cambodia and S Vietnam.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–21 cm; 110–115 g. Small owl with rounded head, heavily spotted crown, darkish facial disc bordered with white; curved white eyebrows. Greyish-brown above with... read more


    Medley of harsh screeches, chatters and chuckles; breeding call “chiurrr chiurrr chiurrr... read more


    Open forest and semi-open country in general, including desert and semi-desert. Also ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly small insects; also small roosting birds, mice, shrews (Soricidae), geckos (Gekkonidae), toads (Bufonidae). In one study, rodents... read more


    Lays Feb–Apr in N of range, Nov–Apr in S; peak months vary annually, probably dependent on food availability or photoperiod.... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Global population size unknown, but numbers are suspected to be stable according to BirdLife International. Tolerates... 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. (2020). Spotted Owlet (Athene brama). 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 29 January 2020).