28 March 2016 – The colour of Little Owl in the Atlantic Sahara

Thirteen subspecies of Little Owl are recognized (Holt et al. 2016) including two in Morocco (Thévenot et al. 2003):

  • n. glaux (Savigny, 1809)
  • n. saharae (O. Kleinschmidt, 1909)

but saharae is sometimes subsumed within glaux.

In the Atlantic Sahara, the Little Owl is widespread and locally common in the coastal regions of Lower Draa and Saquiat Al Hamra, rare in the interior. The records South of Boujdour are fewer and the southernmost one is at Boulariah, 22°26’45″N 14°31’20″W on 21st Octobre 2014 (A. Qninba in Bergier et al. 2014).

There is a wide range of colour in the adults, from dark/chocolate brown in the Lower Draa to very pale, sandy, near Dakhla.

Photos of Little Owls from other places in the Atlantic Sahara are welcome.


Photo credit

  • Plage Blanche : photo Patrick Bergier, 4 March 2008
  • Fort bou Jérif : photo Martin Roost, 26 April 2010
  • Negjyr : photo Franck Chevalier, 2 October 2011
  • Imlili : photo Javier Elorriaga, Yeray Seminario / Birding the Strait, 16 February 2016
  • Tachktant : photo Franck Chevalier, May 2015



  • Bergier, P. ; Thévenot, M. & Qninba, A. Notes naturalistes au Sahara Atlantique marocain – 6. Go-South Bulletin 11 : 113-211.
  • Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P., Wood, K.L., Kirwan, G.M. & Christie, D.A. Little Owl (Athene noctua). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/55092 on 28 March 2016).
  • Thévenot, M. ; Vernon, J. & Bergier, P. The Birds of Morocco. B.O.U. Checklist n°20.



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