Backyard Birds

Mindanao Scops Owl (Otus mirus)

The Mindanao Scops Owls (Otus mirus) are endemic to the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, where records of them only exist from four sites: Mount Hilong-along, Mount Apo, Mount Kitanglad, and Lake Sebu, where they are restricted to high-elevation montane forests. They are presumed to be sedentary (non-migratory).

These small, forest-dwelling owls are mostly active at dusk and during the night, and are believed to spend the days roosting on branches where they are well concealed by their heavily patterned plumage.

The Latin name was derived from the unusual, bold markings on their plumage, and their common name from their locality.

Mindanao Scops Owls appear to be rare throughout their range and their numbers are suspected to be declining due to ongoing habitat destruction.

This species is, therefore, classified as Near Threatened.


The Mindanao Scops Owls are relatively small, measuring only 7.5 – 7.8 inches (19 – 20 cm) in length (including the tail).

The upper plumage is greyish-brown and heavily marked with blackish streaks and blotches. The plumage below is whitish interlaced with a crisscrossed pattern of fine and heavy black lines.

There is a row of white spots on the back of the neck forming a half-collar; and a couple of white lines on the shoulders.

The small ear tufts are whitish in color. The bill is greenish-grey. Their eyes (irises) are brownish-yellow.

Diet / Feeding

Their primary diet consists of insects, although they are likely to also take small mammals, earth worms, and other small animal prey found in their environment.

Calls / Vocalizations

Their calls consist of two soft double notes that are said to resemble those of pigeons or doves.

Alternate (Global) Names

Chinese: ???? … Czech: Výrecek mindanajský, výre?ek mindanajský … Danish: Mindanaodværghornugle … Dutch: Mindanaodwergooruil, Mindanao-dwergooruil … Estonian: mindanao päll … Finnish: Mindanaonpöllönen … French: Petit-duc de Mindanao, Petit-duc montagnard … German: Mindanaoeule, Mindanao-Ohreule, Mindanao-Zwergohreule, Rotohreule … Italian: Assiolo di Mindanao … Japanese: mindanaokonohazuku … Norwegian: Mindanaougle … Polish: syczek osobliwy, Syczek wielki … Russian: ?????????? ?????, ????? ? ??????? ???????? … Slovak: výrik mindanajský … Spanish: Autillo de Mindanao … Swedish: Mindanaodvärguv

Other (Global) Names

More Owl Information


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button