African Scops Owl

African Scops Owl

I first encountered this little owl at Lake Baringo, Kenya. It can be found throughout much of East Africa and is present in all five countries. Measuring in at only about 6.5 inches (including the tufts) it’s all too easy to walk right by roosting pairs. This individual’s partner was about 8 inches above it on another branch. The best way to locate these (and other owls) is to listen for the call very early in the morning. Once you’ve honed in on their location point your flashlight (torch) toward the ground so as not to scare or threaten them. If they fly off, you’ll be forced to start all over and listen for new calls. When you have a pretty good idea of their location head back to bed and return during morning light when the low sun allows for decent illumination rather then shadow.

The African scops owl’s camouflage is impeccable as well as they are usually brown and streaked with bits if grey. If you’re familiar with Australian birds think of the tawny frogmouth. This delightful owl species is certainly one of my favorites and if you find yourself is dry, semi-arid bush/woodland areas, don’t be surprised if you stumble upon one if you’re diligent enough to seek them out.

Download the call

African Scops Owl Distribution

*Call and map from

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