Brown Boobook

Scientific Name: Ninox scutulata

Malay Name: Pungguk Betemak Biasa

Chinese Name: 鹰鸮

Range: Breeding Range: (OR, EU) e Asia through Orient Nonbreeding Range: Sulawesi, Lesser Sundas

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: lugubris, burmanica, hirsuta, isolata, rexpimenti, scutulata, javanensis, borneensis, palawanensis.

Local Subspecies: scutulata

Size: 30-31 cm

Identification: Larger than the local scops owls with a proportionally smaller head. Overall brown colouration with large, yellow eyes and small, white patch above bill. Field identification from Northern Boobook is tricky with the local subspecies generally presenting more heart-shaped brown streaking on its white underparts compared to the more teardrop-shaped streaking of the migrant Northern.

Similar looking species: Northern Boobook

Habitat: Secondary and primary forest habitats. It can be seen in many nature parks adjacent to the central nature reserves. 

Behaviour/Ecology: This species along with many other hawk-owls often duets in pairs.

Local Status: Uncommon resident

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2021)

Location: Central nature reserves and adjacent nature parks. 


BirdLife International. (2021). Ninox scutulata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

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