Are you looking to learn more about the different types of owls in India? If so, you’ve come to the right place!
India is home to many species of owls, some of the most notable being the Indian Eagle Owl, Spotted Owlet, Oriental Scops Owl, and Tawny Owl.
These birds are found throughout the country and are an important part of India’s wildlife and ecosystems.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of owls in India that you can find, including their unique characteristics, habitats, and behaviors.
Read on to learn more about these magnificent birds and how they can be spotted in India. Let’s get started!
1. Pallid Scops-Owl
The Pallid Scops-Owl is the first on this list of the types of owls in India. It is a medium-sized owl with pale facial disks, reddish-brown eyes, and white eyebrows.
It has yellow legs, greyish-brown wings, and light buff underparts. This owl has a grey back with white spots and is easily distinguished by its long ear tufts.
The Pallid Scops-Owl is mostly found in India’s dry deciduous forests, open scrubland, and semi-arid habitats.
It feeds mainly on small mammals, such as rats, and can be seen hunting in open areas during the day. It is an elusive bird and generally keeps quiet, only making a soft call occasionally.
2. Eurasian Scops-Owl
The Eurasian Scops-Owl is a small, slender owl widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia.
It is mainly grey and brown, with white streaks on its chest and belly. It has large yellow eyes and a rounded head with a white “V” pattern at the back.
This species prefers open habitats such as meadows, pastures, and grasslands but can also be found in open forests and scrubland.
The Eurasian Scops-Owl feeds mainly on small invertebrates, such as insects, spiders, and worms, which it hunts for at night.
It is one of the types of owls in India that nest in tree cavities or crevices in buildings, laying 4-6 eggs per season.
3. Asian Barred Owlet
The Asian Barred Owlet is a species of small owl found in India. It is endemic to the Indian Subcontinent and is a common species in many parts of the country.
This owl is a small, stocky bird with short legs and a wide, round head on this list of the different types of owls in India.
The body is mostly brown, with a distinct dark-brown vertical stripe running from the forehead to the lower breast.
The face is pale grey and has a white eye ring with black spots above and below it. The wings are also pale grey and have long black stripes. The tail is dark brown with faint barring.
In India, the Asian Barred Owlet is found in open woodlands, scrubby habitats, gardens, orchards, and agricultural fields.
It is equally one of the types of owls in India that feeds on insects, small mammals, reptiles, and occasionally small birds. It is active mainly during the early morning and evening hours.
The Asian Barred Owlet is an important part of India’s natural heritage, as it controls pest populations.
This species is listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN due to its wide distribution and large population.
However, it may be threatened by habitat loss due to human activities such as agriculture, logging, and urbanization.
Conservation efforts should focus on preserving suitable habitats for this species to ensure its survival.
4. Jungle Owlet
The Jungle Owlet is a species of small owl found in India. It is found in the tropical dry forests of Central and South India and typically feeds on insects, lizards, frogs, and rodents.
They are usually seen in the early morning or late evening, perched on a branch or tree near a water source.
Meanwhile, they typically have yellowish-brown feathers with brown stripes and yellow eyes.
These owls are relatively small, measuring around 20–25 centimeters long and weighing around 70-90 grams.
They are types of owls in India that typically nest in tree holes and lay three to five eggs at a time.
The Jungle Owlet is an important part of the Indian ecosystem, helping to keep the population of insects and other small animals in check.
5. Forest Owlet
The Forest Owlet is not left from the list of the various types of owls in India. It is mostly found in central India and parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
This small owl has pale brown feathers with buff and white markings on its body and face. It has a rounded head, large yellow eyes, and a black bill.
The Forest Owlet is mostly nocturnal, so it will usually only be seen during the night.
The diet of the Forest Owlet consists of small animals such as lizards, frogs, and rodents. They also eat insects and sometimes birds.
This species of owl usually nests in tall trees near water bodies, such as rivers and lakes.
The Forest Owlet is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss and hunting.
Despite this, the population of this species of different types of owls in India is still relatively stable.
However, conservation efforts are still needed to protect this species from further decline.
6. Barn Owl
The Barn Owl is one of the most widely distributed types of owls in India. It is a nocturnal hunter that can be found throughout the country, from the Himalayas to the coast.
It is easily identifiable by its white-speckled brownish feathers and heart-shaped face.
The Barn Owl has adapted well to living in rural and urban areas but prefers to live near open fields and grasslands.
It feeds on small mammals such as voles, mice, rats, and frogs in India. It hunts mainly at night, using its excellent hearing and vision to find its prey.
The Barn Owl is also a vocal bird, with various calls, including a sharp ‘keee-aw’ or a drawn-out ‘hoooo.’
It is not known to nest in tree hollows, instead choosing to nest in crevices or sheltered cavities on buildings, under bridges, or in other man-made structures.
Barn Owls are common types of owls in India and have no special conservation status.
They are regarded as beneficial birds, helping to control rodents in agricultural lands.
Despite this, their numbers have declined due to habitat loss and poisoning from pesticides used in farming.
As such, it is important to ensure that suitable habitats are preserved and maintained for these birds.
7. Boreal Owl
The Boreal Owl is a medium-sized owl species native to India. It has distinctive brown and white spotted plumage, bright yellow eyes, and long ear tufts.
This species prefers to inhabit coniferous forests and often hunts in open fields or meadows at night.
It feeds mainly on small rodents and voles but will also take small birds if the opportunity arises.
While the Boreal Owl is widespread in India, it is listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
We are just getting started with this list of the various types of owls in India!
8. Andaman Scops-Owl
The Andaman Scops-Owl is a rare owl species found in India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
This species is considered vulnerable due to its limited range and declining population.
They are types of owls in India that prefer to inhabit dense tropical forests, preferably near water.
They feed mainly on insects, such as moths and beetles, but they will also take small rodents, birds, lizards, and frogs if available.
The Andaman Scops-Owl has an overall chestnut color with a white throat and white spots on the wings.
It has two distinctive features that set it apart from other owls – it has a light eyebrow line above its eyes, and its eyes are orange rather than yellow or brown.
It also has a loud, trilling call that can be heard long distances.
The Andaman Scops-Owl is threatened by deforestation and habitat destruction due to increased human activity in its limited range.
Its population is declining, and its conservation status is vulnerable.
There is a need for conservation efforts to protect this species to prevent further population decline.
9. Brown Wood-Owl
The Brown Wood-Owl (Strix leptogrammica) is a species of owl found in India and throughout Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia.
This species prefers to inhabit tropical and subtropical forests, especially those near water.
Brown Wood-Owls are medium-sized owls with a length ranging between 25 and 35 centimeters.
The upper parts of their body are predominantly brown, while the chest is speckled white and black.
The face of the Brown Wood-Owl is yellowish-brown, with a black bill and white eyebrows. These owls feed on small mammals, reptiles, insects, and other small birds.
They are most active at night when they can be heard calling out with a series of hoots.
They often roost in trees during the day and can be spotted flying over open fields in search of prey. If you want to know the types of owls in India, here’s one!
10. Dusky Eagle-Owl
The Dusky Eagle-Owl (Bubo coromandus) is a large owl in the Indian Subcontinent.
It is the only species of eagle owl found in India and one of the two species of eagle owls native to the country.
The Dusky Eagle-Owl is a large owl, measuring up to 60 cm in length and weighing up to 1.2 kg.
The species is easily identified by its distinct coloration and pattern; the upper parts are greyish-brown, and the underparts are pale with darker spotting. The eyes are yellow, and the facial disc is pale brown.
The Dusky Eagle-Owl is found mainly in forests and wooded areas, although it can be found in more open habitats such as grasslands and agricultural areas.
They mainly hunt at night and feed on small mammals, birds, frogs, lizards, and insects.
Of the types of owls in India, they are solitary birds but may form pairs during the breeding season. The female lays 2 to 4 eggs in a nest in a tree cavity or old building.
The Dusky Eagle-Owl is listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, but it is facing population declines due to habitat destruction and other human activities.
To help conserve this species, it is important to protect the remaining habitats and prevent further destruction.
11. Collared Scops-Owl
The Collared Scops-Owl (Otus bakkamoena) is a species of owl found in India and parts of South Asia. It is a small, nocturnal bird of prey with a length of about 20 cm.
It has a white facial disk with concentric black rings, and its upper parts are greyish brown with mottled patterning.
Furthermore, its wings are broad and rounded, and its tail is long and pointed.
It can be seen in dry deciduous forests, lightly wooded grassland, agricultural land, and scrub.
It mainly feeds on insects such as crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, and other small vertebrates.
It is one of the types of owls in India that has a loud, hooting call used to mark its territory.
12. Collared Owlet
The Collared Owlet (Glaucidium brodiei) is a small bird of prey found in the Indian subcontinent.
It is an owl of the genus Glaucidium and is found in wooded areas across India, from Kashmir in the north to Kerala in the south.
It is one of the different types of owls in India, and it feeds mainly on insects, rodents, and small birds.
Going further, it has a light brown body with white spots and a black collar around its neck, which gives it its name.
It also has a white face with dark eyes and a yellow beak. The Collared Owlet is a solitary bird that roosts in tree hollows or thick vegetation during the day.
It is an active hunter at night, perching on low branches while scanning the ground for prey.
13. Buffy Fish-Owl
The Buffy Fish-Owl (Ketupa ketupu) is one of the many types of owls in India.
This owl species is native to the Indian Subcontinent and can be found in wetland habitats.
These owls are medium-sized, with a length of about 45 cm and a wingspan of around 110 cm. They have a distinctive black facial disc and white eyebrow stripe.
The upper parts of this owl are reddish-brown, while the underside is light buff or white.
These types of owls in India feed primarily on fish, which they catch in rivers and streams.
They hunt by standing on a branch or perch above the water and diving to catch their prey. They also eat crustaceans, amphibians, small mammals, reptiles, and insects.
The Buffy Fish-Owl is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss and increased disturbance from human activities.
Although their population is decreasing, they are still commonly seen in India’s wetlands.
14. Andaman Masked-Owl
Next up on this list of different types of owls in India is the Andaman Masked-Owl, a species of owl endemic to India’s Andaman Islands.
This owl species is an apex predator and is believed to be the only nocturnal animal that has adapted to life in the tropical rainforest.
The Andaman Masked-Owl is also critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Less than 500 mature individuals of this species are estimated to be left in the wild.
The Andaman Masked-Owl is characterized by its large yellow eyes, long ear tufts, and white face mask.
Its wingspan ranges between 75-90 cm, and its body length can range between 41-47 cm. It is most active at night when it hunts small mammals, birds, and reptiles.
The breeding season of the Andaman Masked-Owl starts in late April and goes until mid-June.
They are also one of the various types of owls in India, and they typically lay 2-3 eggs which are incubated for about 30 days. The chicks fledge in around a month.
The Andaman Masked Owl prefers to inhabit humid evergreen forests and wetlands, making it particularly vulnerable to deforestation and habitat loss.
This species is also threatened by hunting and the illegal pet trade. To protect the remaining population of this species, conservation efforts are being made to protect its habitats from further destruction.
15. Eurasian Eagle-Owl
The Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo) is a large species of owl that can be found in India, as well as in many other parts of the world.
This species of owl is one of the most impressive-looking birds of prey due to its large size, bright yellow eyes, and strong, hooked beak.
It can be found inhabiting many habitats, from grasslands, forests, and even urban areas.
The Eurasian Eagle-Owl is a nocturnal bird that mostly feeds on small mammals and occasionally reptiles and insects.
These owls are usually found alone or in pairs and are quite difficult to spot in the wild.
16. Brown Fish-Owl
The Brown Fish-Owl is a species of owl native to India. It is a medium-sized owl with a body length of about 32 cm.
The wingspan is about 84 cm, and the tail is about 18 cm long. Its plumage is mainly brown, with faint pale spots on the upper and darker markings on the lower parts.
The facial disk is brownish-grey, and the eyes are yellowish-brown. It is found in scrub jungles, deciduous forests, and dry open countries near wetlands. Its call is a series of loud hoots that sound like “chup-chup-chup.”
Moreso, it is one of the types of owls in India that feeds mainly on fish, small rodents, amphibians, reptiles, and insects. The Brown Fish-Owl is a threatened species in India due to habitat loss and hunting.
17. Himalayan Owl
The Himalayan Owl is one of the most common types of owls in India. These owls are about 10-12 inches tall and have a white face, white spotting, brown back, and wings.
Their wingspan can reach up to 3 feet in length, making them formidable predators.
The Himalayan Owls typically inhabit the Himalayan mountain range but are also known to be found in certain parts of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttaranchal.
They typically hunt at night and feed mainly on rodents, snakes, lizards, and insects.
18. Indian Scops-Owl
The Indian scops-owl (Otus bakkamoena) is also one of the most common types of owls in India.
It is a small, brown bird that measures up to 11.8 inches and has a wingspan of up to 21.7 inches.
It is native to much of the Indian Subcontinent and has a wide variety of habitats, ranging from dry deciduous forests to wet grasslands.
This type of owl typically feeds on small invertebrates such as crickets, beetles, and occasionally birds and lizards.
The Indian scops-owl is known for its distinctive call, which consists of a series of loud, repeated hoots.
19. Jungle Owlet
Of all the different types of owls in India, the Jungle Owlet is an intriguing species that can be found in the country.
This species is a small-sized owl and is endemic to South Asia. It is mainly found in India’s dry deciduous forest and scrub jungle.
They have distinctly rounded heads with two white stripes on their face. These owls usually hunt in the early morning or late evening, using their hearing to detect prey.
They feed mainly on small mammals, reptiles, and insects. The Jungle Owlet is also a highly vocal bird that produces a loud screeching call to communicate with other owls.
Their calls can be heard from a distance of up to several kilometers. They have adapted well to human habitation and can often be seen roosting on buildings, trees, and electric wires.
With its unique appearance and behavior, the Jungle Owlet is a captivating species of owl found in India.
20. Little Owl
The Little Owl (Athene noctua) is one of the most commonly found types of owls in India.
It is a small, long-legged owl with a rounded head and short tail. They have a white face and breasts with a brown back and wings.
This species can be found in open forests, grasslands, farmlands, scrubby areas, and even urban areas. They feed on various small rodents, reptiles, insects, and even other small birds.
The Little Owl is a protected species in India, making them one of the most abundant owl species in the country.
They are active during the day and at night and can be easily spotted perched on tree branches or the ground.
21. Long-Eared Owl
The Long-eared Owl is uncommon in the Indian subcontinent. Its distinctive features include its large head, prominent ear tuft on each side, and large yellow eyes.
This owl species typically live in forested areas, preferring open deciduous woodland or mixed coniferous and deciduous woodland.
The Long-eared Owl is a nocturnal hunter, feeding mainly on small rodents, such as mice and voles.
It is one of the types of owls in India that is also known to eat small birds and sometimes insects.
They have a loud, piercing call that can be heard during the night, as well as their characteristic hoot.
In India, they are found in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, among others.
22. Mottled Wood-Owl
The Mottled Wood-Owl (Strix ocellata) is an owl species found in India and the surrounding countries.
This owl is small to medium-sized with a white face, black eyes, and dark brownish feathers on the back and wings.
It is on this list of different types of owls in India and also has distinctive mottling on the upper parts and a pale underside.
This species inhabits dense forests and woodlands, particularly where there are large trees for roosting.
They feed primarily on small rodents, insects, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
During the day, they usually remain in their roosts, but at night they may be seen hunting near the forest edge or human habitations.
The Mottled Wood-Owl is an important species in India because it helps control the population of its prey species.
Additionally, it is an important cultural symbol in many parts of the country, often appearing in Hindu mythologies.
As a result, they are protected in many parts of India, and hunting them is strictly prohibited.
23. Mountain Scops-Owl
The Mountain Scops-Owl (Otus spilocephalus) is one of the many types of owls in India.
This owl is found in the Himalayan mountain ranges from Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand to Arunachal Pradesh in the Eastern Himalayas.
The Mountain Scops-Owl is a small owl with a length of about 18 cm.
Its plumage is variable; it can be pale or dark brown above and whitish or buff below. The facial disc is greyish-white, and the eyes are yellow.
The Mountain Scops-Owl is usually seen perched on tree branches during the day, and at night it hunts for small rodents and other small prey.
It has an interesting courtship ritual where the male perches on a tree branch and calls out to attract females.
In India, the Mountain Scops-Owl is threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation and urbanization and hunting for traditional medicine.
This is one of the many owls in India listed as ‘Near Threatened’ by the IUCN Red List. Conservation efforts must be taken to protect this species and its habitat.
24. Tawny Owl
Compared to other types of owls in India, the Tawny Owl is small to medium-sized nocturnal bird of prey.
It is native to India and is also found in some parts of Nepal and Sri Lanka. This species of owl is usually found living in forests and woodlands.
Meanwhile, they have tawny feathers on their body, which gives them their name and yellow eyes.
They are mainly active at night and can be heard calling in the evening or early morning.
During the day, they rest on branches of trees and perch quietly. They mainly feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
The Tawny Owl is an important part of the Indian ecosystem, helping to maintain the balance between predators and their prey.
25. Spotted Owlet
The Spotted Owlet is a small owl species native to India and nearby countries, typically found in open woodland areas and fields.
It is a common sight throughout the Indian subcontinent, with a population estimated at up to one million individuals.
This small, stoutly-built bird has white spots on its feathers, which makes it easily recognizable even from a distance.
The Spotted Owlet has a unique call, sounding like a sharp “poo-poo.” Of the different types of owls in India, this owl is mainly active during the night but can be seen during the day.
This species feeds mainly on insects and small rodents and is an important predator in agricultural areas.
26. Spot-Bellied Eagle-Owl
The Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl is one of the types of owls in India you should be aware of.
This owl is a medium-sized species with a length of around 39 cm and weighs between 450–830 g.
It has a blackish-brown and gray upper body with pale streaks, white spots on its belly, bright yellow eyes, and yellow legs.
The Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl is mostly found in dry deciduous forests and open woodlands in India, although it has also been seen in cultivated areas.
Its diet consists mainly of small mammals, rodents, lizards, birds, and insects.
The Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl is considered an indicator species for healthy forest habitats, as they require large tracts of undisturbed forest to survive.
As such, the species is vulnerable to habitat destruction and fragmentation. And thus, it needs to be conserved and protected if it is to survive into the future.
27. Short-Eared Owl
The Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) is one of the most widely distributed types of owls in India.
This species can be found from the western Himalayas to the south and east of the country.
The Short-eared Owl has an average length of around 11 inches with a wingspan of approximately 20 inches.
This owl is mostly brownish-gray and has a distinctive black band across its chest. Its eyes are yellow, and its legs are covered with light-colored feathers.
The diet of this species mainly consists of small mammals such as voles, mice, shrews, and rabbits.
They are types of owls in India that also feed on insects, amphibians, reptiles, and even some birds.
The Short-eared Owl is active mostly during dawn and dusk when it is searching for prey. It typically hunts from a perch or by hovering over fields and marshes.
This species of owl is quite common throughout most of India. It can often be seen perched on branches or flying above fields for food.
While the Short-eared Owl may not be as noticeable as some of the other types of owls in India, it is an important part of the Indian avian community.
28. Rock Eagle-Owl
The Rock Eagle-Owl (Bubo bengalensis) is one of the many types of owls in India.
This large and powerful owl is mainly found in the rocky areas of the Himalayas, northern and western India.
They prefer to inhabit areas with deep crevices and crags to hide from potential predators.
The Rock Eagle-Owl has an average wingspan of about 1.4 meters and a body length of about 61 centimeters.
It is mostly grayish brown but can sometimes have white speckles on its feathers. Its facial disc is plain and orange-brown, with a black border.
The Rock Eagle-Owl has very prominent ear tufts, which it raises when alarmed.
This owl species mainly feeds on small mammals such as rodents, hares, shrews, and even bats. It is mainly nocturnal, being most active at night when it hunts for its prey.
Rock Eagle-Owls usually nest in rocky crevices or cavities and lay 3-4 eggs at a time.
The female incubates the eggs while the male provides food for her and the chicks during this period. Chicks leave the nest when they are about two months old.
The Rock Eagle-Owl, one of the types of owls in India, faces several threats due to habitat loss and degradation caused by human activities.
It is also hunted for sport, and its feathers are used to make traditional feather hats.
As a result, its population has been declining, and it is now listed as a Vulnerable species according to the IUCN Red List.
29. Tawny Fish-Owl
The Tawny Fish-Owl (Ketupa flavipes) is a species of owl found in India and other parts of South and Southeast Asia.
It is one of the most commonly seen types of owls in India and is also known as the Indian Fish-Owl or Asian Fish-Owl.
It is a large bird with a body length of up to 55 cm and a wingspan of around 120 cm. Its coloring is dark brown, with some lighter patches on its chest and wings.
The Tawny Fish-Owl feeds primarily on fish and will hunt around wetlands, rivers, and lakes at night.
It has adapted to living near human settlements, often roosting in artificial tree cavities or manmade structures such as bridges. It is found in both deciduous forests and dense tropical forests.
In India, the Tawny Fish-Owl is listed as an endangered species due to the loss of its habitat due to deforestation and agricultural activities.
However, it has been known to thrive near human settlements and is often seen in urban areas.
30. Nicobar Scops-Owl
The Nicobar Scops-Owl is an owl native to the Nicobar Islands of India. It is a small owl species, with adults averaging 18 and 20 cm in length.
This owl is mostly greyish-brown, with darker streaks on its body and wings. Its eyes are yellow, and its face is white.
This bird, on this list of various types of owls in India, prefers to live in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and wooded areas, typically near water sources.
It mainly feeds on insects, such as moths and beetles, but also eats small rodents, birds, and reptiles.
The Nicobar Scops-Owl is listed as a vulnerable species due to ongoing deforestation and habitat loss, as well as hunting for food.
Conservation efforts have been put in place to help protect the species from further decline.
These efforts include habitat protection and reintroduction programs.
31. Oriental Bay-Owl
The Oriental Bay-Owl is a species of owl found in India and Sri Lanka.
This medium-sized owl has a distinctive facial disc that is pale to orange and encircled by dark concentric stripes.
The Oriental Bay Owl can be found in dense forests, wooded habitats, and open areas with scattered trees and shrubs.
They are most active at night and feed on small rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
The Oriental Bay Owl is listed as the Least Concern on the IUCN Red List due to its wide range and stable population.
There are some types of owls in India that we are yet to talk about. Don’t stop reading!
32. Oriental Scops-Owl
The Oriental Scops-Owl (Otus sunia) is a species of owl found throughout much of India and Sri Lanka.
It is a small owl with a length between 18–21 cm and the last on this list of the different types of owls in India.
The upper parts are greyish brown, while the underparts are buff with dark barring.
Moreso, its facial disc is pale greyish white, with some rusty tinge to the rim. It has a loud ‘hoo hoo’ call, which can be heard at night.
It is mostly nocturnal but can sometimes be seen in the early mornings or late afternoons. They can be found in open woodlands, scrubby areas, and urban parks.
India is a rich and diverse country, home to many wildlife species. One of these is the owl, a majestic creature that has long been associated with wisdom and mystery.
There are several different types of owls in India, each of which is fascinating in its own way.
Here, we explored the various types of owls in India and their unique characteristics. Read the above to learn more!