Torotoroka scops owl

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Torotoroka scops owl
Madagascar torotoroka scops owl otus madagascariensis.jpg
Otus madagascariensis in Anjajavy Forest
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Otus
O. madagascariensis
Binomial name
Otus madagascariensis
(Grandidier, 1867)

The Torotoroka scops owl (Otus madagascariensis) is a taxon of owl in the family Strigidae. It is endemic to Madagascar, and was previously regarded as its own species. However, O. madagascariensis and the rainforest scops owl Otus. rutilus have now been re-lumped following Fuchs et al. (2007) as the Madagascar scops owl or Malagasy scops owl.[1] The scientific name of the combined species is yet to be agreed, although rutilus would appear to be have priority.[2]


Very similar to the rainforest scops owl Otus rutilus, and possibly indistinguishable from it.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This taxon is endemic to the south and eastern parts of Madagascar.[4]

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests, as well as man-made habitats such as parks, up to 2000m above sea level.[4]


The Torotoroka scops owl, the Mayotte scops owl Otus mayottensis, the Pemba scops owl Otus pembaensis and the rainforest scops owl Otus rutilus have all previously been lumped as one species. The taxonomy is in state of flux but recent genetic studies have placed the Pemba scops owl closer to the clade containing the African scops owl Otus sengalensis, while the Mayotte scops owl is clearly separate from the remaining two. The status of the rainforest and Torotoroka scops owls as separate species is debatable as there may be very little genetic distance between the two taxa[5][6] and subsequent studies have suggested that the plumage differences between rutilus and madgascarensis are small and that their voices intergrade.[7] If that is the case then the rainforest and Torotoroka scops owls become subspecies of the Madagascar scops owl.[7]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012) Species factsheet: Otus rutilus. Downloaded from on 17/01/2012
  2. ^ "Malagasy Scops-owl Otus [rutilus or madagascariensis] (= Otus rutilus) (Pucheran, 1849)". Avibase. Denis Lepage. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Malagasy or Rainforest Scops Owls". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Torotoroka Scops Owls". Beauty of Birds. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  5. ^ Fuchs, Jérôme; et al. (2008). "Tracing the colonization history of the Indian Ocean scops-owls (Strigiformes: Otus) with further insight into the spatio-temporal origin of the Malagasy avifauna". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 8: 197. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-197.
  6. ^ Fuchs, Jérôme; Pons, Jean-Marc; Pasquet, Eric; Raherilalao, Marie Jeanne; Goodman, Steven M. (2007). "Geographical Structure of Genetic Variation in the Malagasy scops-owl inferred from Mitochondrial Sequence Data (abstract)". Condor. 109 (2): 408–418. doi:10.1650/0010-5422(2007)109[408:gsogvi];2.
  7. ^ a b "Madagascar Scops-owl (Otus rutilus)". Hanbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 29 October 2016.