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Flores Scops-owl Otus alfredi
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This owl is known from only two locations in a very small range, within which its very small population is in decline as a result of continuing habitat loss and degradation. For these reasons it is classified as Endangered.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
Widodo, W.; Cox, J. H.; Rasmussen, P. C. 1999. Rediscovery of the Flores Scops Owl Otus alfredi on Flores, Indonesia, and reaffirnation of its specific status. Forktail 15: 15-23.

Taxonomic note
Otus magicus and O. tempestatis (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as O. magicus, and O. alfredi, O. siaoensis, O. enganensis, O. insularis and O. beccarii (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were split from O. magicus following Widodo et al. (1999), Lambert and Rasmussen (1998), Andrew (1992) and Holt et al. (1999). Prior to that all these taxa were lumped in O. magicus following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

19-21 cm. Small, forest-dwelling owl. Solid dark rufous-brown facial disc with white eyebrows and rufous ear-tufts. Fine white markings on forehead, unstreaked rufous crown. Uniform dark rufous upperparts with streaks or bars. White stripe on scapulars, flight feathers barred rufous-and-white, tail unbarred. White underparts with chest often rusty-brown but no dark markings. Yellow iris, bill and feet. Similar spp. Red morph Moluccan Scops-owl O. magicus usually larger, with dark streaks on crown, dark smudges on chest and distinctive call. Wallace's Scops-owl O. silvicola larger and greyer, with orange iris and dark markings on chest. Voice Gives single short, sharp call notes UH at intervals of 1.5-2.5 seconds. Territorial calls are more common and comprise a distinctive short burst of loud, rapid staccato notes transcribed as UH-UH-UH-UH... with each phrase containing 5-13 notes (Hutchinson et al. 2007).

Distribution and population
Otus alfredi is endemic to the island of Flores, Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, where it is known from just two localities in the western mountains (BirdLife International 2001). Originally collected on Gunung Repok in 1896 in the Todo mountains of south-west Flores, it was not seen again until 1994, when a single juvenile was mist-netted and collected at 1,400 m on the northern slopes of Poco Mandasawu in the Ruteng mountains, and an adult was mist-netted at Danau Ranamese at 1,200 m in the Ruteng mountains. It has since been seen again at Danau Ranamese in 1997, in 2005 (when its vocalisations were described), and in 2006 (Eaton in litt. 2006). Local reports suggest it may also still occur on Gunung Repok, but information regarding its population is completely lacking. It has a tiny known range, and the puzzling lack of records for nearly a century may perhaps be because it is silent (but still present) in the dry season, when all attempts to locate it have been made.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number in the low hundreds or the low thousands based on an analysis of historical and recent records and surveys. An estimate derived from density data from congeners, and data on the species's Extent of Occurrence, suggests the population numbers 250-2,499 mature individuals. This is roughly equivalent to 370-3,800 individuals in total.

Trend justification
Much habitat below 1,300 m has now been destroyed, yet forest continues to be lost and as a result the species is suspected to be declining at a moderate rate.

It inhabits montane forest from 1,000 m to at least 1,400 m. If it survives on Gunung Repok, as villagers report, then it must either tolerate the highly degraded forest now present below 1,300 m around the type-locality, or occur above 1,500 m in stunted montane forest. One bird was observed perching 15 m up in the subcanopy. It is assumed to be resident, but may perhaps make local altitudinal movements.

Forest loss and fragmentation (chiefly as a result of shifting cultivation, dry season burn-off and road-building) is already extensive on Flores, with remaining forest tracts generally confined to steep-sided valleys and higher peaks. This species has a remarkably small known range, and most primary forest has been cleared or degraded in the mountains outside of Ruteng Nature Recreation Park.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It has recently been recorded in the Ruteng Nature Recreation Park, newly established to protect an important remnant tract of montane forest. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct extensive nocturnal surveys (using mist-netting and use of vocalisations if available [Hutchinson et al. 2007]), on mountains in the Ruteng massif, and also the ridge forests of Mata Wae Ndeo (north of the Tanjung Kerita Mese peninsula) to establish its range, status and ecological requirements. Identify, and propose for strict protection, an appropriate area of mid-altitude, semi-evergreen forest to conserve a range of upper-elevation endemic taxa. Implement active management of Ruteng Nature Recreation Park to protect this owl and its habitat, and upgrade forest adjacent to Rana Mese within this park to wildlife sanctuary status.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Hutchinson, R.; Eaton, J.; Demeulemeester, B.; Rheindt, F. E. 2007. Observations of Flores Scops Owl Otus alfredi on Flores, Indonesia, with a first description of its vocalisations. Forktail: 184-187.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Taylor, J. & Tobias, J.

Butchart, S., Eaton, J., Pilgrim, J. & Trainor, C.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Otus alfredi. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Flores scops-owl (Otus alfredi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Strigidae (Typical Owls)
Species name author (Hartert, 1897)
Population size 250-2499 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 450 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species