Sunday 19 May
Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Madagascar red owl fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Madagascar red owl description
The family Tytonidae includes the barn, grass and bay owls, numbering 16 species in all; they are classified as a separate group from the rest of the Strigidae or the more ‘typical’ owls. The family is widely distributed around the world and the best-known member is the barn owl Tyto alba, which occurs in various forms, usually in the tropics but, exceptionally, in the temperate latitudes of Europe (4).
Members of this family are easily distinguished by the heart-shaped facial disc and the Madagascar red owl is no exception. The common name of this species is rather appropriate as its plumage consists of a russet back, sparsely spotted with black. The underside is pale orange, again with small widely spaced black spots (2). The facial disc is white, contrasting with the overall reddish colour of the body and this helps to distinguish Tyto soumagnei from the local race of the barn owl, T. alba hypermetra, which is a slightly bigger bird(4).
The call of the Madagascar red owl differs from that of the barn owl, consisting of a hiss descending in pitch (2), whereas the barn owl usually produces a purring shriek and a range of other squeals (5).
- Also known as
- Madagascar grass owl, Madagascar owl, Soumagne’s owl.
- Chouette effraie jaune, Effraie de Soumagne, Effraie rousse de Madagascar.
- Lechuza de Madagascar, Lechuza Malgache.
- Length: 27 – 30 cm (2)
- Active at night.
IUCN Red List (May, 2009)
- Stattersfield, A.J. and Capper, D.R. (2000) Threatened Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona and Birdlife International, Cambridge.
CITES (April, 2004)
- Burton, J.A. (1973) Owls of the World: Their Evolution, Structure and Ecology. Peter Lowe, London.
- Mullarney, K., Svensson, L., Zetterström, D. and Grant, P.J. (1999) Collins Bird Guide. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London.
BirdLife International (May, 2009)
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Madagascar red owl biology
Not a great deal is known about the ecology of the Madagascar red owl and what little is known has been discovered quite recently. The species is believed to nest in holes in isolated native trees, based on the first nest discovery in 1995. Two young were known to have fledged from this nest in a tree 500 metres from the forest edge and located 23 metres from the ground (2). The species is strictly nocturnal and difficult to study.Top
Madagascar red owl range
This species’ range is confined to the island of Madagascar and there are records from six locations, all on the eastern side of the island. Further surveys may discover more definite records elsewhere (2).Top
Madagascar red owl habitat
Madagascar red owls have been observed around and within the humid forest areas, but hunt over adjacent open country. They do not appear to be confined to undisturbed forest, having been recorded over cultivated fields (2).Top
Madagascar red owl statusTop
Madagascar red owl threats
As with so many endangered animal species, the main threat to the Madagascar red owl is loss of its habitat. Madagascar has suffered a major deforestation over the past few decades, largely through widespread slash and burn, clearing forest to provide open areas for agriculture (2).Top
Madagascar red owl conservation
With relatively little known about this species, it is important to find out more about both its ecology and population. Several of the six recorded sites are protected areas and further survey work is required to establish whether the owl is present in some of the National Parks to the south of its currently known range (2). In 2009 the IUCN downlisted the Madagascar red owl from Endangered to Vulnerable, as recent range extensions mean its population is now believed to be larger than previously thought. However, the population is still presumed to be small and in decline (6).Top
Find out more
To find out more about the Madagascar red owl see:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.