Sokoke scops owl

By imitating other birds’ calls, it not only confuses potential predators but also enhances its hunting success by luring unsuspecting prey closer

John Mwacharo

A fascinating and enigmatic species endemic to the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, a unique and biodiverse ecosystem located along the coast of Kenya. This elusive owl, with its intricate plumage and haunting calls, embodies the mystery and beauty of its ancient forest home.

Measuring around 18-20 centimeters in length, the Sokoke scops owl is relatively small in size compared to other owl species. Its cryptic coloration, characterized by intricate patterns of browns, grays, and subtle markings, provides excellent camouflage among the dense foliage of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. This remarkable adaptation allows the owl to remain hidden from potential predators and prey alike, making it a skilled and stealthy hunter in its woodland domain.

Despite its small size, the Sokoke scops owl possesses a powerful voice that resonates through the forest under the cover of darkness. Its vocalizations, consisting of a series of melodious hoots and whistles, serve various functions within the owl’s social structure. These calls are used for communication between mates, establishing territory boundaries, and signaling presence to other individuals within the forest.

In addition to its vocal talents, the Sokoke scops owl exhibits fascinating behaviors that contribute to its survival in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. Like many owl species, it is primarily nocturnal, taking to the skies under the cloak of night to hunt for a diverse array of prey. From insects and small rodents to lizards and birds, the Sokoke scops owl displays impressive hunting skills, relying on keen eyesight and acute hearing to locate and capture its quarry in the darkness.


Population est.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No