The São Tomé scops-owl is a largely nocturnal bird, but it may also sometimes be active during the day when not roosting in tree cavities amongst dense foliage (2) (5). It is thought that breeding takes place between August and October, just before the start of the short rains (2). Nesting taking place in a tree cavity or possibly on the ground (5), and São Tomé scops-owl fledglings have been observed in October (2).
Insects make up the majority of this owl’s diet, particularly grasshoppers, beetles and moths, but small lizards are also sometimes eaten (2). It forages in the dense vegetation of the lower parts of the forest, dropping down onto its prey from a perch, plucking it from foliage, or snatching it from the air whilst in flight. Only occasionally does the São Tomé scops-owl descend to the ground (2).