Overview

Comprehensive Description

Summary

"A small grey-brown owl, spotted with white. A common inhabitant of open habitat, it has adapted to living in cities."
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Physical Description

Morphology

"A squat, white-spotted greyish-brown little owl, with typical large round head and forwardly directed, staring yellow eyes. Sexes alike. Pairs or family parties, about villages, ruins, and in groves of large trees."
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Size

About that of the Myna.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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General Habitat

"Every type of country in the plains and foothills except heavy forest, and is particularly abundant in the neighbourhood of human habitations."
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Behaviour

"Chiefly crepuscular and nocturnal. This little bird is the commonest and most familiar of our owls. It affects every type of country in the plains and foothills except heavy forest, and is particularly abundant in the neighbourhood of human habitations. It is fearless and confiding and regards Man with complete unconcern. In many localities almost every ancient tamarind, banyan or mango tree holds its resident pair or two of these owlets, and one has but to tap on the trunk to bring forth an enquiring little face to the entrance of a hollow, -or to dislodge a pair sitting huddled together on some secluded branch. The birds often fly out fussily to a neighbouring branch when the tree is approached, whence they bob and stare at the intruder in clownish fashion. It is largely of crepuscular and nocturnal habits, perhaps not so much because of intolerance to sunlight—since it is often abroad and even hunting at mid-day—but on account of the persecution and chivvying it is invariably subjected to by other birds immediately it shows itself. At dusk these owlets may be seen perched on fence-posts, telegraph wires and the like, pouncing from time to time upon some unwary insect on the ground, or flying across noiselessly from one perch to another. Occasionally it launches ungainly aerial sallies after winged termites capturing them in its claws, and it will sometimes even hover clumsily like a kestrel to espy creeping prey. Its food consists mainly of beetles and other insects, but small mice, birds and lizards are also taken. - They are noisy birds and have a large variety of harsh chattering, squabbling and chuckling notes, two individuals frequently combining in a duet."
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Reproduction

"The season ranges between November and April. The eggs are laid in hollows in trees, or in holes in walls, or between the ceiling and roof of deserted as well as occupied dwellings. The hollows are sometimes sparsely lined with grass, tow and feathers. The eggs—three or four—are white roundish ovals. Both sexes share in lining the nest, incubation and care of the young."
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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