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Species Guide
A photo of a Brown Hawk-Owl (Ninox scutulata)
Brown Hawk-Owl

Brown Hawk-Owl

Ninox scutulata

The Brown Boobook, also known as the Brown Hawk-Owl, is a medium-sized owl with a length of approximately 32 cm (13 in). It possesses a hawk-like silhouette characterized by its long tail and the absence of a distinct facial disk. The plumage of the upperparts is dark brown, complemented by a barred tail, while the underparts are a lighter whitish hue adorned with reddish-brown streaking. The Andaman Islands subspecies, however, features dark brown underparts. Both sexes exhibit large, yellow eyes and share a similar appearance.

Identification Tips

To identify the Brown Boobook, look for its hawk-like shape, dark brown upperparts with a barred tail, and whitish underparts with reddish-brown streaking. The large, yellow eyes are also a distinctive feature. When attempting to locate this nocturnal bird during the day, observe the behavior of small birds, as they may mob the roosting owl, thereby revealing its presence.


The Brown Boobook favors well-wooded areas and forests as its natural habitat.


This owl is a resident breeder across a broad range of tropical South Asia, from the Middle East to South China. Notably, there have been two records of the Brown Boobook in the Western Hemisphere: one photographed on St. Paul Island, Alaska, and another deceased individual found on Kiska Island.


The Brown Boobook is predominantly nocturnal. It is often found in proximity to human settlements, including towns, cities, and suburban regions. During the day, it may be roosted and mobbed by smaller birds.

Song & Calls

The call of the Brown Boobook is a distinctive low, soft, and musical "oo-uk …ooo-uk…" which can be heard at the twilight hours of dusk and dawn.


This species nests in tree holes, where it lays a clutch of three to five eggs.

Diet and Feeding

The Brown Boobook's diet consists mainly of large insects, frogs, lizards, small birds, and mice.

Conservation status

The Brown Boobook is currently classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of population decline.

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Brown Hawk-Owls on Birda


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A photo of a Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus)

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Aegolius acadicus
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