Moluccan Scops-Owl Otus magicus Scientific name definitions

Guy M. Kirwan, Denver W. Holt, Josep del Hoyo, Nigel Collar, Regan Berkley, Caroline Deppe, Paula L. Enríquez, Julie L. Petersen, José Luis Rangel Salazar, Kelley P. Segars, and Kristin L. Wood
Version: 2.0 — Published March 5, 2022

Plumages, Molts, and Structure


Natal Down

Natal down is undescribed.


The juvenile differs from the adult apparently in by having a barred rather than streaked crown.


The base plumage color is extremely variable, with gray-brown, rufous, and yellow-brown "morphs" plus various intermediates (the presence of which potentially undermines the applicability of the morph epithet to the principal phenotypes). The facial disk is whitish with a variable rufous to grayish tinge, and short white eyebrows. The dark crown is coarsely streaked and the ear tufts are barred. The upperparts are variably streaked and barred dark (the bars are sometimes strong) and scapulars are dark-tipped with white spots which can be indistinct. The remiges are prominently barred whitish, and the tail is marked with thinner pale bars. The underparts are much more pale than the upperparts, and are usually coarsely streaked with broken thin cross-lines.


There is no published information on the species' molts.

Bare Parts


Bill is pale yellowish gray; however, Hartert (1) described the bills of nine specimens from Wetar (subspecies tempestatis) as being black, blackish or dark horn on the maxilla, and pale or dirty horn on the mandible.


The iris is bright and vivid yellow in adults, but perhaps duller in juveniles.

Tarsi and Toes

The tarsi and toes are yellowish to grayish (1, 2). Only the distal 7–9 mm of the tarsi are unfeathered.


Linear Measurements

Overall length is approximately 19–25 cm (2, 3, 4).

Very few mensural data are available. The nominate subspecies has a wing length of 140–161 mm, and a tail length of 66–76 mm, but sample sizes were not indicated (2).


Mean 165 g (n = 4) (5).

O. m. obira: males 146–148 g (mean 147 g, n = 3); females 128–142 g (mean 135 g, n = 2) (6).

Recommended Citation

Kirwan, G. M., D. W. Holt, J. del Hoyo, N. Collar, R. Berkley, C. Deppe, P. L. Enríquez, J. L. Petersen, J. L. Rangel Salazar, K. P. Segars, and K. L. Wood (2022). Moluccan Scops-Owl (Otus magicus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (B. K. Keeney and P. N. Maleko, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.mosowl1.02