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Collared Scops Owl - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Ayuwat J
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Otus lettia



  • Grey or brown upperparts
  • Faint buff spots
  • Buff, fine dark streaked below
  • White or buff facial disc
  • Orange or brown iris
  • Buff neckband
  • Small head tufts

Sexes similar
Both grey and rufous morphs are know; the difference in colour is mostly evident in the underside.

Similar Species

Adults are similar to but have paler upperside than Sunda Scops-Owl. Juveniles are not safely differentiated from juveniles of Sunda Scops-Owl3.


Photo by ariban
Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary, Kolkata, India, 8 May 2010

Eastern Himalayas to South-East Asia, eastern China, and Taiwan; ussuriensis is found north to Sakhalin Island. Most if not all of these populations are migrating south of this breeding range in winter, for example down into India and the Malay Peninsula.


This species (Otus lettia) is sometimes considered a subspecies of Otus bakkamoena; the latter species is currently called Indian Scops Owl, but if considered to include Otus lettia, would be converted back the name Collared Scops Owl. Sunda Scops-Owl (Otus lempiji) is another species currently recognized in this superspecies. The species limits in this complex seems a little uncertain: an analysis2 including Indian Scops-Owl, Sunda Scops-Owl and subspecies lettia and ussuriensis of Collared Scops-Owl (and other species) failed to find lettia and ussuriensis as each others closest relatives. The authors speculate that ussuriensis instead might be closely related to Japanese Scops-Owl. Konig3 indeed includes ussuriensis as a subspecies of Japanese Scops-Owl and so do now Clements and Gill and Donsker..


As currently defined, Collared Scops-Owl includes five subspecies1:

  • O. l. plumipes:
  • O. l. lettia:
  • O. l. erythrocampe:
  • O. l. glabripes:
  • O. l. umbratilis:
  • Hainan Island (southern China)

ussuriensis used to be included here but is now provisionally placed within Japanese Scops-Owl.


Forests and well-wooded areas.




It nests in a hole in a tree. The clutch consists of 3-5 eggs.


The diet includes insects.


Call: single soft whuk.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Fuchs et al. Tracing the colonization history of the Indian Ocean scops-owls (Strigiformes: Otus) with further insight into the spatio-temporal origin of the Malagasy avifauna. BMC Evol Biol. 2008; 8: 197. read in November 2008.
  3. König, C., F. Weick, & J.-H. Becking. 1999. Owls - a guide to the owls of the world. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300079206
  4. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

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