Vermiculated Fishing Owl (Scotopelia bouvieri)

Vermiculated Fishing Owl

[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Scotopelia bouvieri | [authority] Sharpe, 1875 | [UK] Vermiculated Fishing Owl | [FR] Chouette pecheuse vermiculee | [DE] Marmor-Fischeule | [ES] Carabo Pescador Vermiculado | [NL] Kleine Visuil


Monotypic species


Fish owls of the genus Scotopelia live in the African rainforest and includes the Pel’s fishing-owl, the rufous fish owl, endemic to western African rainforest, and the vermiculated fish owl. These Owls have very distinct feet which sets them apart from all other Owls. The feet are similar to that of the Osprey with a rough surface perfectly adapted to grip fish. Unlike most other owls these raptors are adapted to a variety of habitats.

Physical charateristics

Head rufous with black-streaked forehead. Facial disk light rufous. Upperparts dark rufous-cinnamon, with fine dark brown vermiculations, scapulars with variable whitish on outer webs. Underparts light to darkish creamy with full brown streaks. Undertail whitish.

Listen to the sound of Vermiculated Fishing Owl

[audio: Fishing Owl.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 46 cm size max.: 51 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 2  


Africa : Westcentral


Gallery forest along rivers in primary forest. Favors rivers at least 10m broad. Also pools in forest and flooded forest.


Uses old stick nest of large birds like ibises.

Feeding habits

Fish, frogs, crabs, small birds and mammals. Hunts from perch 1-2 meter up at night.


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.
Vermiculated Fishing Owl status Least Concern


Presumed resident

Distribution map

Vermiculated Fishing Owl distribution range map

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