Frasers Eagle-Owl (Bubo poensis)

Frasers Eagle-Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Bubo poensis | [authority] Fraser, 1853 | [UK] Frasers Eagle-Owl | [FR] Grand duc cornu | [DE] Guineauhu | [ES] Buho de Guinea | [NL] Kleine Oehoe


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Bubo poensis AF c, w


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

A little-known, diminutive species of eagle-owl, Fraser’s eagle-owl has predominantly reddish-brown plumage, dark on the head and upperparts and pale on the breast, fading to white towards the lower regions. Heavily patterned over its entire body, the back is barred with black, while the tail and flight-feathers are marked with dusky and reddish-brown bands. The upper breast has a dense array of thick black and reddish brown bars, becoming thinner and more diffuse towards the lower parts. In addition to its striking plumage, Fraser’s eagle-owl can also be distinguished by the two elongated ear-tufts that project from the top of the head, and by its pale blue-grey eyelids. The juvenile’s plumage is also heavily barred, but is generally a much lighter brownish-red on the body. Interestingly, while the call of Fraser’s eagle-owl is frequently a typical owl hoot, twowooot, it also makes a loud, purring trill, resembling the sound of a small engine

Listen to the sound of Frasers Eagle-Owl

[audio: Eagle-Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 39 cm size max.: 45 cm
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broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
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Africa : Central, West. Found in West and Central Africa, the range of Fraser’s eagle owl extends throughout many of the countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea, from Sierra Leone eastwards to Cameroon and southwards to Angola. In addition, its range extends eastwards through the Central African Republic and central Democratic Republic of Congo to Uganda and Rwanda


Fraser’s eagle owl occupies areas of lowland evergreen and secondary forest, usually around forest edges and clearings, as well as agricultural plantations


Little is known about the reproductive biology of Fraser’s eagle-owl. The few field records indicate that egg-laying occurs throughout the year and that the young probably do not become independent until around a year or more after hatching. Nests are likely to be constructed on the ground or in tree hollows

Feeding habits

A nocturnal species, Fraser’s eagle-owl commences activity at dusk, emerging from its daytime roost to hunt. Camouflaged amongst the trees, this species sits motionless on its perch scanning the forest for prey, before swooping down and snatching its victim in its talons. Fraser’s eagle-owl feeds on a variety of animals including insects, frogs, small birds and mammals such as mice, squirrels, and fruit bats (2). Because Fraser’s eagle owl swallows its food whole or in large pieces, it ingests a great deal of indigestible matter such as fur, feathers and bones. Like other owl species, this is transformed within the owl’s digestive system into a compact pellet that is regurgitated a number of hours after eating

Video Frasers 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.
At the current time, the main threat to Fraser’s eagle owl is habitat loss and degradation resulting from the intense logging activity occurring in many parts of its range (2) (5). Nevertheless, this species has a large range, adapts readily to degraded areas of forest, and in some parts, such as Liberia and Cameroon, is considered to be common. On the basis of this information, at the current time, Fraser’s eagle-owl does not appear to be significantly threatened
Frasers Eagle-Owl status Least Concern



Distribution map

Frasers Eagle-Owl distribution range map

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