Cyprus Scops-owl Otus cyprius


Justification of Red List category
Although this species may have a restricted range, it is not believed 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 species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population is moderate small to large, 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 breeding population is estimated at 5,000-12,000 pairs, which equates to 10,000-24,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). This is roughly equivalent to 15,000-36,000 individuals in total.

Trend justification
The population trend direction is unknown (BirdLife International 2015).

Distribution and population

Cyprus Scops-owl is endemic to Cyprus. It is believed to be mostly sedentary, though it is now debated that some individuals may migrate (Flint et al. 2015).


A terrestrial species, Cyprus Scops-owl occupies forest, including pine, scrubland and artificial habitats such as farmland and parks.


Cyprus Scops-owl is threatened by changes occurring in agricultural management practices, as it is thought that the species relies on structurally diverse vegetation types, occupying forest and scrubland habitats (Ieronymidou 2008).


Previously identified as a subspecies of the Eurasian Scops-owl, Otus scops, the Cyprus Scops-owl is now recognized as a separate species, Otus cyprius. The Cyprus Scops-owl's plumage is consistently darker than subspecies of the Eurasian Scops-owl and it also lacks a rufous morph (Finch et al. 2015). The species is largely sedentary and has a distinct double-noted song (Finch et al. 2015). Dark grey-brown, with markings dark and coarse, distinct white spots (del Hoyo et al. 2019).


Text account compilers
Elliott, N., Martin, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Otus cyprius. Downloaded from on 01/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/03/2024.