Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

White-browed Owl (Athene superciliaris)


French: Chevêche à sourcils blancs German: Madagaskarkauz Spanish: Mochuelo malgache
Other common names: White-browed Hawk-owl, Madagascar Hawk-owl

Strix superciliaris


, 1817,



Formerly placed in genus Ninox, and sometimes thought to be close to Ninox scutulata. Recent genetic data, however, indicate that this species is an Athene#R, although corroborative evidence from further sampling is desirable; many works continue to place present species in Ninox#R#R, and one even suggests it belongs in its own genus#R. Monotypic.



Descriptive notes

23–30 cm; male 235 g (n = 1), female 236 g (n = 1). Medium-sized owl with round brownish head, inconspicuous tan-grey facial disc, prominent... read more


Extremely vocal at night, giving 2 muffled disyllabic hoots, “ho-o-o, hoo”, sometimes... read more


Uses a variety of forested habitats, including open terrain with few trees, wooded savanna, semi-... read more

Food and feeding

No detailed published studies. Mainly insects; also amphibians, reptiles (including chameleons), small birds and small mammals (“mice... read more


Breeding biology rather poorly known; said to breed from Oct–Dec. Two nests known in tree cavities, one in forest interior and... read more


Resident. Rare wanderers to N Madagascar are probably dispersing immatures.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. No estimates of global population size. Fairly common in dry forest in W & S Madagascar, e.g. at Kirindi, Zombitse-... 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. (2019). White-browed Owl (Athene superciliaris). 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 7 December 2019).