Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Sulawesi Scops-owl (Otus manadensis)


French: Petit-duc de Manado German: Manado-Zwergohreule Spanish: Autillo de Célebes

Scops manadensis

Quoy and Gaimard

, 1830,

Manado, Sulawesi


Probably closely related to O. elegans and O. collari, and until recently considered to include O. siaoensis, O. mendeni and O. sulaensis; these six appear to form a species-group. Separated from O. siaoensis during analysis that established O. collari, to which siaoensis is closest in morphology but from which it differs in its much smaller size (127 vs mean 161; allow 3); longer ear-tufts (at least 1); “more heavily marked and less conspicuously pale” throat (1); lack of “prominent pale nuchal collar” (2); “much more vermiculated, more regularly barred, and drabber” underparts (2); “fewer bands” on remiges and rectrices (ns[1 or 2]); “much more broadly, irregularly, and less strongly banded” tail (ns[1 or 2])#R; O. mendeni vocally very distinct from present species (based on recordings on xeno-canto and AVoCet—where split—subjectively allow 4); published photograph caption#R further describes mendeni as “distinctly smaller… with smaller feet, tarsi feathered nearly to base of toes, and primaries less distinctly banded on outer webs”, while original description refers to greyer, more obsolete and less variegated plumage, thus species status achieved on basis of smaller size (at least 1), greyer, less distinct plumage including reduced wing-barring (at least 1), and less feathering on tarsi (at least 1); O. sulaensis also vocally distinct from present species (based on recordings on xeno-canto and AVoCet—where split—subjectively allow 4), is “considerably larger”#R (allow 2), and has tarsus bare for “three-eighths of its length” (2). Classification and true affinities of Otus taxa in SE Asia, particularly island forms, highly complex, with relationship between present species and O. magicus not fully understood. Formerly treated as conspecific with O. magicus; has been considered to include O. beccarii. Recently listed as including O. elegans, perhaps in error. Sulu form sibutuensis, currently included in O. mantananensis, sometimes placed with present species. Race kalidupae (sometimes considered a race of O. magicus#R) has recently been treated as a full species#R on basis of “morphology and zoogeographical considerations”, but this needs fuller justification: kalidupae is larger than manadensis and with more orange eyes and more uniform plumage, but the voice is unknown#R, so distinctiveness by no means well established, while biogeographical considerations also relatively tenuous (many Tukangbesi species are shared with Sulawesi). Two subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. m. manadensis (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830) – Sulawesi Scops-owl – Sulawesi, Kabaena, Muna, Buton (Butung), Wowoni and Salayar.
  • O. m. kalidupae (E. J. O. Hartert, 1903) – Kalidupa Scops-owl – Kaledupa (in Tukangbesi Is, off SE Sulawesi).
  • Descriptive notes

    19–23 cm; 83–93 g. Occurs in brown and rufous morphs, latter very scarce; plumage variable. Similar to O. magicus, but smaller than Moluccan forms of... read more


    For nominate race, main territorial call a clear, upward-inflected, mournful “ploo-ek... read more


    Humid primary forest, second-growth forest, forest clearings and edge, in geographical areas with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little information. Probably feeds mainly on insects and perhaps on small vertebrates. Nocturnal.


    Almost no information; indication that breeding may begin just before start of monsoon season. Probably nests in tree cavities.


    Presumably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Appears to be fairly common and widespread in Sulawesi, where occurs in Tangkoko Nature Reserve and in Dumoga-Bone and Lore... 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). Sulawesi Scops-owl (Otus manadensis). 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 25 February 2020).