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

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


Vocal Array

The vocalizations of this species fall into two distinct groups that are increasingly recognized as separate species (12, 4, 13):

Otus magicus (all subspecies except tempestatis). A single, rough "croak" (sometimes said to be raven and Corvus-like) or a harsh or rasping "kwok" (26) repeated every few seconds, e.g., at 5‒7-second intervals on Obi (subspecies obira), where calls last 0.33–0.5 seconds and reach 0.6–1.2 kHz, similar to, but apparently occupying a narrower frequency range than birds on Buru (bouruensis), Flores (albiventris), and Halmahera (leucospilus) (22). There is reportedly also some individual variation with some birds (often speculated to be females) higher pitched than others. In flight, or when excited (e.g., in response to playback) these taxa can produce a series of similar notes in quick succession (4, 13). On Obi, for example, one bird gave a series of kwook notes slightly longer and deeper than the usual call which was repeated at shorter intervals (22).

O. m. tempestatis. A series of 2–7 gruff "wah" notes at an approximate rate of six notes every five seconds, sometimes even faster (4, 13), often in duets (27).

Note that Otus manadensis kalidupae sounds identical to the Otus magicus group (15) and may be better transferred to the present species (see Systematics History).

Nonvocal Sounds

No nonvocal sounds for the species have been reported.

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