Forest Eagle-Owl (Bubo nipalensis)

Forest Eagle-Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Bubo nipalensis | [authority] Hodgson, 1836 | [UK] Forest Eagle-Owl | [FR] Grand duc du Nepal | [DE] Nepaluhu | [ES] Buho Nepali | [NL] Bosoehoe


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Bubo are the largest of the owls. Heavily built with powerful talons they are recognisable by their size, their prominent ear-tufts, and their eyes that vary in colour from yellow to brown but are frequently vivid orange. The genus, including the Asian fish owls of the genus Ketupa – now believed to be part of Bubo – comprises of 20 species ranging Eurasia, Indonesia, Africa and the Americas. DNA evidence suggests that the Snowy Owls of Nyctea and the fish owls of Scotopelia are also candidates for inclusion in this genus.

Physical charateristics

Above brown narrowly tipped and banded across with tawny buff over the whole of the upper surface, these bars less distinct on the crown, but broader and deeper colored on the hind neck. Outermost scapulars tipped and spotted with yellowish buff on the outer web, forming a distinct shoulder patch. Primary coverts nearly uniform dark brown, with faint indications of lighter brown bars. Quills dark brown, barred darker; tail dark brown, broadly tipped with whitish and crossed with six other bands of fulvous ; face dusky brown with whitish shaft streaks; feathers above the eye blackish. Ear tufts 9 cm long, dark brown, notched and barred with fulvous or white on the inner web. Cheeks with white stiff feathers mesially streaked with brown ; chin whitish-rest of under surface of body white, washed here and there with fulvous and barred across with dark brown ; under tail coverts the same, also the under wing coverts.

Listen to the sound of Forest Eagle-Owl

[audio: Eagle-Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 51 cm size max.: 64 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


Oriental Region : South India and Sri Lanka, Himalayas to Southeast Asia


Subtropical/tropical lowland and montane moist forest from 300m up to 3000m


Nest built in cavity or emtpy raptor nest. Also on bare soil. Clutch size 1 egg which is, like the nestlings, is defended fiercly.

Feeding habits

It is nocturnal and spends the day hidden among foliage of a large forest tree. At dusk it becomes active and hunts small mammals, reptiles, and birds.

Video Forest Eagle-Owl


copyright: Martin Kennewell


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.
Forest Eagle-Owl status Least Concern


Presumed resident

Distribution map

Forest Eagle-Owl distribution range map

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