Buffy Fish Owl (Ketupa ketupu)

Buffy Fish Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Ketupa ketupu | [authority] Horsfield, 1821 | [UK] Buffy Fish Owl | [FR] Ketoupa malais | [DE] Sundafischuhu | [ES] Buho Pescador Malayo | [NL] Maleise visuil


Monotypic species


The Asian Fish-Owls of the genus Ketupa comprises of three species, all occurring within Indian limits. They are large and powerful birds, with the tarsus partly
or wholly naked and granular, much like that of the Osprey, and the soles of the feet covered with prickly scales. The claws are large, well curved, each with a sharp cutting-edge beneath, and the middle claw with a sharp keel on the inside also. Aigrettes are present, long and pointed. The bill is large and strong. The facial disk is ill-marked, especially above. The wings are rounded, and do not reach the end of the tail, 4th quill generally the longest, 3rd and 5th subequal ; tail moderate.

Physical charateristics

Prominent white patch on forehead above bill.
Yellow iris. Dark brown upperparts with bold streaks on back and whitish
bars on scapulars. Underparts richer buff with bold vertical streaks.

Listen to the sound of Buffy Fish Owl

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/STRIGIFORMES/Strigidae/sounds/Buffy Fish Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 50 cm size max.: 52 cm
incubation min.: 32 days incubation max.: 35 days
fledging min.: 45 days fledging max.: 49 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 2  


Oriental Region : Southeast Asia to Java and Borneo


It is the most common large owl in open country habitats and rural settlements.
Found in mangroves, freshwater swamps, plantations and wooded gardens.


Buffy fish owls do not build their own nests, but rather use the abandoned nests of other birds or a tree cavity. The female lays one egg, which hatches approximately one month later. When the owlet is about 45 days old, its flight feathers begin to grow in.

Feeding habits

Rests in a tree during the day until dusk when it leaves in search of food. They feed on fish, frogs and crustaceans near streams, as well as bats and small birds.

Video Buffy Fish Owl


copyright: Greg Baker


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Buffy Fish Owl status Least Concern



Distribution map

Buffy Fish Owl distribution range map

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