Chestnut-backed Owlet

The Chestnut-backed Owlet, Glaucidium castanonotum, is an owl which is endemic to Sri Lanka. This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae.

The Chestnut-backed Owlet is a common resident bird in the wet zone forests, and can be seen fairly easily at sites such as Kitulgala and Sinharaja. It nests in a hole in a tree, laying two eggs.

The Chestnut-backed Owlet is small (19cm) and stocky. The upperparts are mainly chestnut brown, with darker barring. The underparts are white, very heavily barred with brown. The facial disc is mainly brown and the eyes are yellow. There is a white neckband. Sexes are similar. The flight is deeply undulating.

This species is frequently seen in the day, especially in the evening. It can often be located by the small birds that mob it while it is perched in a tree. It feeds mainly on insects. The call is a slow kraw-kraw.


  • Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is near threatened
  • Birds of India by Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, ISBN 0-691-04910-6

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