Otus – Scops owl

Whether perched high on tree branches or concealed among foliage, these birds exemplify nature's ability to adapt and conquer different environments

Small to medium-sized owls found in various habitats across the globe. With their distinctive ear tufts, which can be raised or lowered depending on their mood and environment, they exhibit a striking silhouette. These owls have an extensive range, occupying regions in Europe, Asia, Africa, and some islands in the Pacific.

Their plumage, often a complex pattern of browns, grays, and rusts, allows them to blend into the bark of trees, making them nearly invisible during the daytime when they roost. At night, these cryptic feathers facilitate their stealthy hunting as they silently glide through the air in search of prey.

Scops owls have remarkable auditory abilities, with asymmetrical ear openings that help them pinpoint the location of sounds with incredible accuracy. This adaptation is crucial for hunting in the dark, allowing them to detect even the slightest movements of their prey, which primarily consists of insects and small vertebrates.

The vocalizations of scops owls are indeed one of their most captivating features. Each species has a unique call, which can vary from a simple, mellow toot to more complex and melodic sequences. These calls are not just for communication; they also play a role in mate attraction and territorial defense. The repetitive nature of their calls can make scops owls seem like part of the ambient sounds of the night, adding a layer of intrigue to their presence.

Scops owls are typically solitary, except during the breeding season when they may call more frequently to attract a mate. They nest in a variety of locations, from tree cavities and old woodpecker holes to crevices in buildings and other structures. In some cultures, the calls of scops owls are imbued with folklore and mythology, often associated with omens or spirits of the forest.