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Species Guide
A photo of a Collared Owlet (Taenioptynx brodiei)
Collared Owlet

Collared Owlet

Taenioptynx brodiei

The Collared Owlet, also known as the Collared Pygmy Owl, is a diminutive raptor and the smallest owl in Asia. It is a mere 15 cm in length and weighs around 60 grams. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with females typically larger than males.

Identification Tips

This owl can be identified by its grey-brown plumage, which varies with age, and its barred back and flanks. The head is more spotted than barred, and it has striking white eyebrows and lemon-yellow eyes. A white throat patch is present, and the chin, center of the breast, and belly are predominantly white. Notably, it has a pale collar and two black spots on the nape, resembling eyes, known as the "occipital face." The Collared Owlet lacks ear-tufts and has a longer tail than most pygmy owls, visible in flight with rapid wingbeats.


The Collared Owlet favors submontane and montane forests with open spaces, including evergreen forests, forest edges, mixed deciduous-evergreen forests, and open woodlands with scrub. It is found at altitudes ranging from 700 to 2750 meters.


This species has a broad range across oriental Asia, from the Himalayas to South China, and south through Indochina to the Malay Peninsula, including countries such as Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.


The Collared Owlet is diurnal, active during the day, and occasionally at night. It is often mobbed by other small birds when roosting.

Song & Calls

The male's call is a distinctive 4-note phrase "wüp-wüwü-wüp," which can become shriller with excitement. The call creates a ventriloquial effect, making it challenging to locate the bird.


Breeding season is from March to April. The owlet nests in natural tree hollows or cavities created by other birds, such as woodpeckers and barbets. Clutch size ranges from 3 to 5 round, white eggs, laid between late April and mid-June, with fledging occurring from mid-June to early August.

Diet and Feeding

The Collared Owlet's diet likely mirrors that of its close relative, the Jungle Owlet, preying on small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. Despite its size, it is a fierce predator, capable of capturing prey as large as itself.

Conservation status

The Collared Owlet is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. However, habitat loss poses a significant threat, with studies indicating that the species is absent from forest fragments smaller than 100 hectares due to deforestation and other anthropogenic pressures.

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Collared Owlets on Birda


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