Andaman Scops-owl Otus balli


Justification of Red List Category
Although this species has a small range, it is not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, so the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as not uncommon by Konig et al. (1999), and uncommon by Jathar and Rahmani (2006).

Trend justification
This species is capable of tolerating habitat degradation, occurring in even semi-open or cultivated areas, and even around human settlements. Therefore, given the low rate of habitat loss within its range (Tracewski et al. 2016) the species is considered to be stable.

Distribution and population

Otus balli is an endemic resident in the Andaman islands, India, although there is also one record from Great Nicobar Island in 2007 (Pande et al. 2007). Its current status is unclear, although it appears to be easily found and therefore probably common, although considered uncommon by others (see Konig et al. 1999, Jathar and Rahmani 2006). There seems little reason to expect its population to be under immediate threat given its tolerance of disturbed areas.


It occurs in trees in semi-open or cultivated areas and around human settlements. It feeds at night on insects and nests in February-April.


Forest loss is accelerating on the Andamans, owing to development of the coastline and possibly small-scale agricultural encroachment.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. The Department of Environment and Forests, Andaman & Nicobar Islands has initiated steps to conserve the endemic and threatened bird species of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Zoological Survey of India is monitoring the bird population of this archipelago (C. Sivaperuman in litt. 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct extensive surveys to assess population size, range, habitat preferences and tolerance to human disturbance of this species (P. Davidar in litt. 2016). Compare population densities in human-modified areas and natural forest. Encourage conservation efforts among businesses such as tourism resorts and land owners. Protect some areas of lowland forest within the species's range. Enforce restrictions on agricultural encroachment and logging within such protected areas.


Text account compilers
Westrip, J., Bird, J., Benstead, P., Taylor, J.

Davidar, P., Praveen, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Otus balli. Downloaded from on 14/10/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 14/10/2019.