African Scops Owl (Otus senegalensis)

African Scops Owl

This small nocturnal owl is extremely well camouflaged and difficult to observe unless calling at night or seen at a known day-time roosting spot. It is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa and its adjacent islands and prefers arid savanna woodland extending along wooded watercourses into desert and grassland areas. It hunts from a low perch and main prey are millipedes, centipedes, dragonflies, grasshoppers, beetles, moths, caterpillars, mantids, spiders, cockroaches and scorpions. Monogamous pairs are territorial and call is described as a loud, single, high, purring “kruup” repeated every 5-8 seconds given by both sexes. It used to be considered conspecific with the Eurasian Scops Owl but is not officially split. In most of Africa can only be confused with the Southern White-faced Owl (Ptilopsis granti)

This specific bird was photographed on its favourite day-time roost just outside of Etosha National Park in Namibia. Other well-known roosting places where we often see them include camps inside Etosha NP, Kruger National Park in South Africa, Lake Baringo area of Kenya, Savuti area of Botswana, Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and Liwonde National Park in Malawi.

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