Principe Scops-Owl Otus bikegila Scientific name definitions

Bárbara Freitas and Martim Melo
Version: 1.0 — Published October 24, 2023

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


Vocal Array

The main vocalization ( ) consists of a quick sequence of a series of identical short (0.238 ± 0.007 s) low-frequency notes (maximum frequency 1054.0 ± 30.1 Hz, minimum frequency 910.3± 43.2 Hz, dominant frequency 1005.7 ± 47.6 Hz) with short internote intervals (1.046 ± 0.053 s) (8, 1). Vocalizations can be performed in duets, with intercalated or overlapping notes ( ). Vocal parameters of this species seem to have a low within individual variability between years, as it was shown that most acoustic variables measured for the vocalizations of the same individual female recorded in 2018 and 2019 did not differ significantly (35).

It also produces a cat-like kee-a-u note, which is emitted both in duets and by single birds ( at 1:34 s and XC619443 at 1:35 s). The same individual can produce both call types. Other Otus species emit a similar call.


It calls and is territorial year-round.

Daily Pattern of Vocalizing

The owl is reported to be vocally active throughout the night (from 1945 to 0337 h GMT), with moderate peaks occurring from 2100 to 2300 h (35). There was a single occasion in which one individual was heard during the day (8) —something that distinguishes it from the Sao Tome Scops-Owl (Otus hartlaubi), which is commonly heard singing during the day.

Sex Differences

Both male and female vocalize and duets are common. Females are thought to sing at a higher frequency, as in other species of scops-owls (16, 36).

Nonvocal Sounds

None documented.

Recommended Citation

Freitas, B. and M. Melo (2023). Principe Scops-Owl (Otus bikegila), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (N. D. Sly, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.prisco1.01