Fr: Hibou malgache
Ang: Madagascan Owl – Madagascar Long-eared Owl
All: Madagaskar-Waldohreule
Esp: Búho Malgache
Ita: Gufo del Madagascar
Nd: Madagaskarransuil
Sd: madagaskarhornuggla
Mal: Ankana, Hakagna, Hanka, Vorondolo


Jean Michel Fenerole
Photos d’Oiseaux du monde

Dubi Shapiro
Dubi Shapiro Photo Galleries & Dubi Shapiro's Pictures on IBC

Alan & Ann Tate
AA Bird Photography

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 5 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliott-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334253

OWLS OF THE   WORLD – By Claus König, Friedhelm Weick and Jan-Hendrik Becking - IBSN 978-0-7136-6548-2

The Birds of Africa: Volume VIII: The Malagasy Region: Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros, Mascarenes - Par Roger Safford, Frank Hawkins – ISBN: 1408190494, 9781408190494- Editeur: A&C Black, 2013

BIRDS OF PREY OF AFRICA AND ITS ISLANDS by Alan and Meg Kemp - Struik Publishers - ISBN: 1770073698

Avibase (Denis Lepage)

Birdlife International

HBW Alive

Food habits of the Madagascar long-eared Owl in two habitats in southern Madagascar

The Owl Pages (Deane P.Lewis)

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia




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Summary cards


Madagascan Owl
Asio madagascariensis

Strigiformes Order – Strigidae Family

The Madagascan Owl is endemic to Madagascar. It was formerly a subspecies of the Long-eared Owl (Asio otus), but it is now a full species.
It is widespread throughout its range in deciduous forests and rainforests at low and middle elevation. It is uncommon in the drier parts of SW and absent from high mountain habitats. It typically feeds on small mammals (rodents), birds, reptiles, amphibians and probably insects. But the diet varies seasonally and depends on the habitat. During the breeding season, it is territorial and nests in tree. Both mates rear the young.
The Madagascan Owl is not globally threatened. However, the extensive deforestation may affect the species but it uses a wide variety of habitats and feeds on introduced rodents.  

Length: M: 40 cm – F: 50 cm
Wingspan: 90 cm
Weight of one female: 770 g

The Madagascan Owl has dark brown upperparts with paler, tan and black vermiculations and spots, especially on mantle. Flight-feathers and tail are dark brown with buff and grey-brown bars.
On the underparts, breast and belly are pale buff with dark brown flecks and streaks, more widely spaced towards belly where they are arrow-shaped. Underwing-coverts and axillaries are cinnamon-buff. Undertail-coverts are buffy white with dark markings along the shafts of the longest feathers.

The head is dark brown with darker flecks. The face is plain buff with dark brown eye area. The facial disk is very dark brown. The long ear-tufts are like the head.
The bill is black with grey-brown cere. The eyes are deep orange. Tarsi and toes are feathered cinnamon-buff, sometimes plain or mottled dark brown. The strong claws are dark horn.
Male and female have similar plumage but the female is larger than male.

The juvenile has white down on head and body, contrasting with the black facial mask and the dark brown flight feathers. The white ear-tufts are visible. It soon moults into adult-like plumage.

The Madagascan Owl is widespread throughout Madagascar, including Nosy Be. It occurs in all regions including SW and can be seen at several sites on central plateau.

The Madagascan Owl frequents dry deciduous forest, gallery forest and rainforest from sea-level to at least 1,625 metres of elevation, but possibly up to 1,800 metres. It also frequents the dense secondary growths, and can be seen in urban areas, parks and plantations.

The Madagascan Owl gives series of harsh, barking notes “han-kan han-kan han-kan…” usually given in flight or when flushed. These calls are accelerating and increasing in volume before dropping and fading towards the end of the series. We can also hear several rhythmic “ulooh” repeated several times. The fledglings produce an ascending, hoarse “screech” when begging food.

From four analyses of regurgitated pellets, the Madagascan Owl feeds on frogs, lizards, birds, bats, lemurs, rodents and probably insects. The pellets came from two different locations, and in both sites, the introduced rodents were a significant proportion of the diet.

The diet varies according to the season and depends on the vegetation growing in the habitat. The Madagascan Owl feeds on introduced rodents such as Rattus rattus and Mus musculus, but some native species are taken too.
The largest identified prey is a Hapalemur adult which weights between 740 and 1,200 grams, indicating that the owl is able to ingest prey at least twice its own weight. Unfortunately, the feeding behaviour of this owl is poorly known and the only available information comes from analyses of pellets collected below the roosting sites.
It roosts alone or in pairs in dense vegetation during the day. It has strictly nocturnal habits and hunts at night in forest and adjacent open areas. It uses the strong feet and talons to catch prey.

The Madagascan Owl is territorial during the breeding season. From an observation on Masoala Peninsula, the breeding behaviour starts in August. The pair visits the nest-site and copulation occurs, increasing in frequency until the egg-laying.

The Madagascan Owl is resident on the island.
The flight is powerful and sustained thanks to the large wings.

The breeding season starts in August with the egg-laying in September, and the nesting period extends until November.
The nest is built in tree, 9-10 metres above the ground. Two nests were observed. The first one was in isolated forest patch with cleared understorey, surrounded by open country and scattered forest patches. The nest was placed on clump of epiphytes. The second nest was in a large epiphytic fern. The nest is probably reused in several following years.  

The female lays 2-3 eggs and incubates during 35-36 days. She is fed at nest by the male during this period. The young are fed by the female, but the male provides all the food, leaving it on the rim. The young are able to feed themselves at 25 days. They fledge 35-36 days after hatching and remain in the vicinity of the nest. They leave the area at 64 days old.

The Madagascan Owl is not uncommon throughout the range, but it is difficult to see due to its secretive and nocturnal habits.
The species is persecuted by humans, and may be threatened by heavy deforestation. However, it can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including disturbed areas.
The population is suspected to be stable, and the Madagascan Owl is not globally threatened. It is currently evaluated as Least Concern.