Visayan Scops-owl Otus nigrorum


Justification of Red List Category
This recently-split and poorly-known scops-owl is thought to have a small population with no more than 1,000 mature individuals in each subpopulation, and to be experiencing a continuing decline owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation. It has therefore been classified as Vulnerable.

Population justification
No published population estimates are known, but given the moderately small range, within which habitat loss has been extensive, and the fact that the species appears to occur at low densities even where forest remains, the total population is precautionarily estimated to number fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, with fewer than 1,000 mature individuals in each subpopulation.

Trend justification
Habitat degradation continues to threaten remaining forest fragments, and the population is therefore inferred to be undergoing a continuing decline.

Distribution and population

O. nigrorum occurs at low densities on the islands of Negros (where it is widely distributed [T. Warburton in litt. 2016]) and Panay, Philippines (del Hoyo et al. 1999, König and Weick 2008, G. Jakosalem in litt. 2012, I. Sarenas in litt. 2013).


Occurs in humid lowland and montane forest and, has also been found in other more disturbed woodland habitats (T. Warburton in litt. 2016). However, this species appears to occur less numerously within its range than O. megalotis and O. everetti do in theirs, and is rarely encoutered in both lowland and montane forest (G. Jakosalem in litt. 2013, I. Sarenas in litt. 2013).


Habitat loss on both Negros and Panay has been extensive. Primary forests have been almost totally destroyed on Negros (where just 4% of any type of forest cover remained in 1988) and Panay (where 8% remained). Habitat degradation, through clearance for agriculture, timber and charcoal-burning, continues to pose a serious threat to remaining fragments.

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
No targeted actions are known. Presumably occurs in several protected areas.

Conservation and research actions proposed
Conduct nocturnal surveys in potentially suitable habitat in order to calculate density estimates, and calculate remaining extent of suitable habitat to refine the population estimate. Encourage careful reforestation activities around remaining forests and law enforcement to stop small-scale yet rampant illegal logging.


23-24 cm. A smallish scops owl with prominent ear tufts, white underparts and bright rufous head and neck. Similar spp. O.everetti has a brown crown and upper facial disc as well as brown underparts. O. megalotis is larger, with larger feet feathered onto the toes and has a distinct pale scapular line.


Text account compilers
Westrip, J., Martin, R, Ekstrom, J., Taylor, J., Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Sarenas, I., Warburton, T., Jakosalem, P.G.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Otus nigrorum. Downloaded from on 06/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 06/12/2022.