|Photo by Paul Cools (Internet Bird Collection)|
Eurasian scops-owl (en); mocho-d'orelhas (pt); petit-duc scops (fr); autillo europeo (es); zwergohreule (de)
This species breeds in Morocco, Algeria and southern Europe as far north as northern France, Austria and Slovakia, than in the Ukraine, Belarus and into southern Russia and through the Middle East into central Asia as far east as Kazakhstan, north-western China and western Mongolia. Most population migrate south or south-west to winter along the Sahel belt in sub-Saharan Africa.
These birds are 16-20 cm long and have a wingspan of 53-63 cm. They weigh 90-145 g.
The Eurasian scops-owl is mostly found in both boreal and temperate deciduous forests, but also in scrublands, orchards, parks within urban area, agricultural areas with scattered trees and sometime also in open coniferous forests. This species is present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.
They are mostly insectivorous, taking cicadas, grasshoppers, beetles, moths and flying ants. They also take woodlice, earthworms, mice and shrews, small birds and sometimes even amphibians and small reptiles.
Eurasian scops-owls breed in March-August. They are mostly monogamous, although some cases of polygyny are known to occur. They nest in a hole in an old tree trunk, sometimes using abandoned woodpecker nests, and may also use cavities in walls of old buildings, or under roofs of cabins in parks and gardens.There the female lays 3-6 white eggs which she mostly incubates alone for 24-25 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and leave the nest 21-29 days after hatching, before their plumage is completely grown. they start flying at 30-33 days of age but continue to be fed by the parents for another 5 weeks and sometimes migrate south together with their parents.
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 1-3 million individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation, and the use of pesticides.