The cute little denizens of the Kamalapura Palace, Hampi

Published on: 01/04/2022


Spotted Owlet – Photograph: Vinay Shankar

Deep in the Deccan hinterlands, on the shores of Tungabhadra, the land which has witnessed one of the great kingdoms to prosper – the Vijayanagara Empire, is now home to a beautiful family of Spotted Owlets who are living harmoniously side by side with the family of Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace, Hampi. This family of Owlets have stayed for the last six years and we at Evolve Back will spare no efforts to ensure their presence in the near future too.


The Spotted Owlet (Athene brama) is a small owl with a round head, yellow eyes and prominent white eyebrows, and are barely around 20 cms in size. The crown, sides of the head, and upper parts are greyish, marked with small white spots. The nape has very large white spots, forming a collar, while the back has large white spots, and the scapulars have broad white edges. Even the wings when spread, have small white spots. It is no surprise that they are named – Spotted Owlet.


They are widely distributed in tropical Asia from mainland India to Southeast Asia. They usually habituate into open or semi-open landscapes such as scrub forests, cultivations, etc., and tend to avoid thick forests and moist-dense canopies. They roost in a small group and usually nests in the cavities of rocks or buildings, hollows of trees.


A family of Spotted Owlets has selected a nesting site to breed at Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace in Hampi. This family spend the day roosting in the nest and they become very active in the night as they are crepuscular and nocturnal.

They hunt a variety of insects and sometimes smaller vertebrates such as rats, gerbils, garden lizards, toads, and even smaller snakes. These Owlets generally uses the street lamps as hunting bases, hawking insects attracted to the lights. Once the prey is detected, the Owlet will hunt from a perch, pouncing on the victim with its wide-open claws.

Every year these owlets breed in the same nest and lay 3-5 eggs. The warmth and the protective palace walls help in safeguarding the eggs. The incubation begins with the first laid eggs leading to a wide variation in the size of the chicks. The parents will feed the young regularly to ensure safe growth. The growing chicks may fledge and leave the nest in about a month when they gain enough strength to fly.

These Owlets communicate through various different calls, and they produce a harsh screeching call which includes alternative loud churring and mild chuckling. They call mainly during early dawn or just after sunset when they become active.

This family of Spotted Owlets have adapted to live happily in Kamalapura Palace, as they feel secure and may attain higher breeding success due to increased availability of prey in and around the palace to feed their young ones in future.

Let the family of cute little denizens prosper along with their well-protected home, the Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace, Hampi.

Vinay Shankar N K

Vinay Shankar N K

Vinay Shankar N K, hails from the city of Bengaluru and characterizes unmatchable adrenal for outdoors and extreme love for his job of a naturalist. After finishing his Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering, he opted into the field of wildlife and its monitoring in the Deccan for the last 3 years. He has assisted many wildlife filming crews as field guide and also, been active in conducting awareness among the locals. His knowledge on wildlife and its habitat makes him a great company. Everything in nature falls under his area of interest and he loves to share his jungle lore with the guests.

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