Brown Hawk Owl (Ninox scutulata)

The Brown Hawk Owls (Ninox scutulata) are also known as Brown or Oriental Boobooks, Oriental or Philippine Hawk Owls, Hume’s Hawk Owls, Burmese Brown Hawk Owls or Indonesian Punggoks.

These owls are fairly common in Malaysia and throughout much of South East Asia

Distribution / Range

The Brown Hawk Owls occur naturally in most of tropical south Asia from the Middle East, India and Sri Lanka east to western Indonesia and south China.

Their primary habitats are well-wooded country and forests.

They are resident (non-migratory) throughout their range.

Subspecies and Ranges

  • Ninox scutulata scutulata (Raffles, 1822) – Nominate Race
    • Range: South Malay Peninsula, Riau Archipelago, Sumatra and Bangka.
  • Ninox scutulata ussuriensis (Buturlin, 1910)
    • Range: Southeastern Siberia, SE Manchuria and N Korea.
  • Ninox scutulata japonica (Temminck and Schlegel, 1844)
    • Range: East China, central and south Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
  • Ninox scutulata lugubris (Tickell, 1833)
    • Range: North and central India to west Assam.
  • Ninox scutulata hirsuta (Temminck, 1824)
    • Range: South India and Sri Lanka.
  • Ninox scutulata obscura (Hume, 1873)
    • Range: Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • Ninox scutulata burmanica (Hume, 1876)
    • Range: East Assam to south China, south to north Malay Peninsula, Thailand and Indochina.
  • Ninox scutulata palawanensis (Ripley and Rabor, 1962)
    • Range: Palawan island in the Philippines
  • Ninox scutulata randi (Deignan, 1951)
    • Range: Islands of Luzon, Marinduque, Mindoro, Negros, Cebu, Siquijor, Mindanao and Basilan in the Philippines.
  • Ninox scutulata javanensis (Stresemann, 1928)
    • Range: West Java island in Indonesia
  • Ninox scutulata borneensis (Bonaparte, 1850)
    • Range: Borneo and northern Natuna Islands.


The Brown Hawk Owls are medium-sized owls that measure about 13 inches or 32 cm in length, including the long tail.

This species was named for its hawk-like shape and lack of distinct facial disk.

The plumage above is dark brown with a barred tail. The plumage below is whitish with reddish-brown streaking in most races; except the subspecies found in the Andaman Islands, which has a dark brown underside.

Their eyes (irises) are yellowish.

Males and females look alike.

Breeding / Nesting

They nest in tree cavities. The average clutch consists of 3 – 5 eggs.

Diet / Feeding

Brown Hawk Owls mostly feed on large insects, frogs, lizards, mice and small birds.

Calls / Vocalizations

Their calls are mostly heard at dusk and dawn and sound like a repeated low soft, musical oo-uk …ooo-uk.

Alternate (Global) Names

Czech: Sovka dravcí, sovka drav?í … Danish: Orientalsk Høgeugle …Dutch: Aziatische Valkuil … Estonian: põhja-haugaskakk … Finnish: Haukkapöllö … French: Chouette hirsute, Ninoxe hirsute … German: Falkenkauz, Wanderkauz … Indonesian: Punggok coklat, Pungguk Coklat … Italian: Civetta sparviero bruna, Gufastore bruno … Japanese: aobazuku, Aoba-zuku … Kazakh: ?????????? ??????? … Korean: ???? … Lithuanian: Aétrianag? pel?da, Sakalin? pel?dik? … Malay: Hantu Betemak, Punggok, Pungguk … Norwegian: Orientfalkeugle, Orientfalkugle … Polish: sowica brunatna, Sowica filipi?ska … Russian: ????? ?????????, ????????? ????, ????????? ????????? ???? ?????, ???????? ????????? ????, ???? ?????????, ???? ????????? … Slovak: sovka kobcovitá … Spanish: Lechuza Gavilana Castaña, Nínox Pardo … Swedish: Brun spökuggla … Thai: ????????????? … Vietnamese: Cú v? l?ng nu

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