|European scops owl|
|Range of O. scops Breeding Resident Passage Non-breeding|
|Strix scops Linnaeus, 1758|
The Eurasian scops owl (Otus scops), also known as the European scops owl or just scops owl, is a small owl. This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae. The scientific name is from the Latin otus for an eared owl and Ancient Greek skopos, “watcher”.
This bird breeds in southern Europe eastwards into western and central Asia. It is migratory, wintering in southernmost Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. It is rare any distance north of its breeding range, usually occurring as a spring overshoot. It is unlikely that this nocturnal owl would be found outside the breeding season when it is not calling.
It breeds in open woodland, parks and gardens. It lays 3-6 eggs in a tree hole.
This is a small owl, and at 19–21 cm (7.5–8.3 in) in length and a 47–54 cm (19–21 in) wingspan is not as large as the little owl. Body mass ranges from 64 to 135 g (2.3 to 4.8 oz).
The scops owl perches upright and shows small ear tufts. It is predominantly grey-brown in colour, with paler face, underparts and shoulder line. This species has a strong direct flight on long narrow wings, reflecting its migratory habits.