Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Birds

Scops Owl (Otus scops)

Description

This is quite a small owl, around 19 cm in length. The facial disc is greyish-brown, finely mottled with the rim not very prominent. The eyes are yellow, and the bill is grey. The upperparts are greyish-brown with blackish streaks, the pattern resembling the bark of an old tree. The crown is similar, with blackish shaft-streaks. The flight feathers are barred dark and pale, as is the short tail.The call is a deep whistle given by both sexes.

Habitat

Semi-open or open country with scattered trees or small woods, cultivated areas with groups of trees, rocky landscapes, parks, avenues of trees along roads, gardens with mature trees, Mediterranean scrub and garrigue. In warm climates, they are also found in mountainous regions.

Diet

Scops owls are generally insectivorous feeding on a wide range of insects; however, depending on the species, they may take small birds, small mammals – such as bats and mice – as well as earthworms, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates.

Protection status

This species is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List

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