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The scops owls of the genus Otus are a large and diverse group with many species all over the Old World. They are related and similar to the American screech owls. Known only from the small island of Siau, north of Sulawesi in Indonesia, there have been no confirmed sightings of the Siau Scops Owl since the type specimen was collected in 1866. Habitat destruction on the island has been extensive and very little forest persists. Surveys on Siau in recent decades have searched vainly for the owl, although unconfirmed sightings have buoyed hope. A recent recording made on the island has been confirmed to have been made by a scops owl, but which species is unclear. Taxonomists still argue about the systematics of this bird. While many authorities give it full species status, some consider it a subspecies of O. magicus and others a subspecies of O. manadensis. It is listed by the IUCN as critically endangered.