Top 10 Rarest Owls in the world (With Pictures 2023)

Human activities have driven multiple species to the brink of extinction. Owls are one of the many animals affected by these anthropogenic activities. Some species may have become extinct or with only a few countable individuals left in the wild. Before these rare birds get completely wiped out from the face of the earth, we wish to bring to light the Top 10 Rarest Owls in the world (2022).

10) Taliabu Masked Owl

Image Source: The Owl Pages

Location: Taliabu in the Moluccas, Indonesia

Known from only one specimen collected in 1938, the Taliabu Owl has a distinctive pale face, which is in the shape of the heart and is surrounded by a thick black line. The body below is dull whitish with sporadic spots.

With a few faint pale spots, the rest of the body is mostly uniformly dark brown. These birds are thinly dispersed across a wide elevation range, across a range of habitats which includes forests, bamboo thickets, and open regions.

9) Congo Bay Owl

Image Source: EDGE of Existence

Location: Albertine Rift Montane Forests

The Congo Bay Owl is one of the Rarest Owls in the world, restricted to a very small area. The Congo bay owl is a little owl with reddish-cream underparts, spotted black and white neck, and chestnut brown lower body.

This owl species is so rare that the description is solely from the two female specimens in 1951 from the Republic of Congo. The species was later thought to be extinct until its spotting in 1991. 

Clearing of forest lands for small-scale agriculture is a major threat for these birds, which will probably go extinct in the next few years if conservation efforts aren’t well established.

8) Biak-Scops Owl

Image Source: The Owl Pages

Location: Biak-Supiori Islands, Indonesia

Next up on our list of Rarest Owls in the World we have the Biak-Supiori Owl. These birds are 20–25 cm long with dark-colored feathers, a paler belly, and distinct white lines running down from the shoulder.

A black ring surrounds the pale grey face, which has yellow eyes with black patches around them. Biak Owls are relatively tiny creatures with hoarse voices that resemble corvids. Small vertebrates or insects make up the majority of their diet.

7) Flores Scops Owl

Image Source: eBird

Location: Island of Flores, Indonesia

The Flores Scops Owl is a small, stout owl species with only a few sightings in the wild. They have long rectal bristles, a beak with yellowish-orange colorations, and a white marking on their forehead.

The wings bear white spotting, and the chest and abdomen have somewhat a grey-scaly appearance. They have large but rounded brown ear tufts. The exact population is unknown as they are seldom seen. Loggings and deforestation are destroying their habitats, leading to their sharply declining population.

6) Blakiston’s Fish-Owl

Image Source: eBird

Location: Russia, China, and Japan

The Blakiston’s Fish Owl is the largest living owl species in the world, with weights of nearly 3-4.6 kg, with females larger than males. They may grow up to lengths of 24-28 in.

The overall body bears a brown coloration, with the upper parts being darker and heavily streaked, while the underparts are paler and bear fewer streaks. As the name suggests, aquatic animals comprise the major portion of their diet and include salmons, pikes, catfish, etc. 

Blakiston’s Fish Owls is a highly endangered species, as their populations are sharply declining due to lead poising, hunting, entangling on fishing nets, and vehicle collisions.

5) Siau Scops Owl

Image Source:

Location: Island of Siau, Indonesia

Next up on our list of rarest owl species we have one of the most endangered owls, the Siau Scops Owl. Very little is known about this species due to its extremely small habitat. This species may be potentially extinct and is extremely endangered.

Although there have been occasional local reports in recent years, there is just one holotype from 1866 on which its description is based. Any population that did survive would be severely impacted by habitat loss brought on by the island’s excessive cutting of its forests.

4) Comoro Scops-owl

Image Source: eBird

Location: Island of Grande Comore, Comoro Islands

The Karthala or Comoro scops owl has two color variations, a light morph and a dark morph, and it lacks ear tufts. Studies are mostly based on the light morph, as no specimen of a dark morph individual has been collected.

People believe the dark morph generally bears a dark chocolate brown color. Its length is roughly 20 cm (7.9 in), and it feeds mainly on invertebrates, as it lacks a powerful talon.

3) Moheli Scops Owl

Image Source: eBird

Location: the Island of Moheli, in Comoro

Like the Comoro Scops Owl, the Moheli Owl too comes in two color variations. One is the rufous morph, which has a reddish-brown plumage, and the brown morph comes with a darker brown shade.

They measure approximately 8.7 inches in length and have yellowish-green eyes and black beaks. This owl species are nocturnal and mainly feeds on insects and other invertebrates.

2) Forest Owlet

Image Source: eBird

Location: Forests of Central India

With less than 1,000 left in the wild, the Forest Owlet is undoubtedly one of the rarest owls in the world. The forest owlet is stocky and tiny (23 cm), with a fairly large skull and beak.

It has a fairly unspotted crown and highly banded wings and tail, as is common for owlets. Deforestation, irrigation, and dam construction continue to threaten the survival of this species.

1) Pernambuco Pygmy Owl

Image Source: eBird

Location: Pernambuco state, Brazil

In the first position, we have the Pernambuco Pygmy Owl. Possibly extinct, or if surviving, it’s not without a maximum of fifty adults, this owl species is undoubtedly the rarest. The Pernambuco pygmy owl measures approximately 13 cm (5.1 in) in length and weighs roughly 51 g. (1.8 oz).

The adult’s upper parts are chestnut, and the face has a mixture of whitish and brownish streaks. The rest of the head bears an umber coloration with tiny white dots.

Here we conclude our article on, Top 10 Rarest Owls in the world (2022). We will be back with another article; until then, stay tuned.

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