Backyard BirdsUncategorized

Torotoroka Scops Owl (Otus madagascariensis)

The Torotoroka Scops Owls (Otus madagascariensis) occur naturally in forest and wooded habitats along the western and southern coasts of Madagascar (an island off the southeastern coast of Africa).

They are related to the Malagasy or Madagascar Scops-Owls (Otus rutilus) and some authorities lump them together as one species (Fuchs et al., 2007).

These owls are found in moist and drier forests, tickets, humid bush country, and parks – from sea level up to 6,600 feet (~ 2000 m). They are mostly resident (non-migratory).

They are locally common and their numbers are suspected to be stable.


The Torotoroka Scops Owls is one of the smallest owl species found in Madagascar, measuring between 8.7 – 9.4 inches (22 – 24 cm) in length (including the tail) and weighing about 3.8 oz or 108 g.

They have short, rounded wings and short ear tufts. The plumage is mostly a mottled brown; darker on the back and lighter below. They have pale-colored eyes (irises).

Breeding / Nesting

Most nesting activities have been observed in November and December. The average clutch consists of between 2 – 5 eggs.

Nesting typically occurs in tree cavities or they may take over abandoned nests, with nests generally being placed about 10 – 26 feet (3 – 8 meters) above the ground.

However, in November 2007, nesting on the ground was recorded for the first time in the Berenty region in southern Madagascar. It is believed that this occurred due to a shortage of suitable cavities in that area.

Diet / Feeding

They mostly feed on insects and small vertebrates.

Alternate (Global) Names

Czech: výre?ek madagaskarský … Danish: Torotorokadværghornugle … Finnish: torotorokanpöllönen … French: Petit-duc gris, Petit-duc ouest-malgache, Petit-duc torotoroka … German: Torotoroka-Zwergohreule … Italian: Assiolo torotoroka … Norwegian: Torotorokaugle … Polish: syczek madagaskarski … Russian: ????? ?????????? … Slovak: výrik madagaskarský … Swedish: Västlig madagaskardvärguv

Other Web Resources

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.

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