A resident bird of Cyprus and the Akamas peninsula. It’s one of the three endemic bird species of Cyprus (it breeds exclusively in Cyprus), recently recognized as a separate species from the Eurasian Scops Owl, which is a migratory species.
It’s a quite widespread species, in forested areas, open areas with tree clusters, forest patches, traditional orchards (olive groves, carob groves etc.), villages and city parks. It becomes active when it gets dark, while during spring and summer its characteristic twin-syllable call “tiou – tou” is heard, repeated every few seconds.
During daytime, it remains well hidden on a tree, with its excellent camouflage making it practically invisible, thus is very hardly seen. It feeds mainly on big insects and less frequently on small reptiles and rodents. Its flight is fast, with minor undulation, fast wingbeats, while it shows long and narrow wings.
It nests in tree hollows, but also in old corvid nests (especially Magpie’s). It’s the smallest owl species of Cyprus, smaller than the Little Owl, with a thinner and longer, more upright body, with characteristic long ‘ear’ tufts and bright yellow eyes. Its coloration is mainly dark grey, with sparse, thin, vertical black stripes and white spots, which are not visible from a distance.