• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Brown Fish Owl - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Brown Fish-Owl)
Ssp. zeylonensis
Photo by Fonny
Habarana, Sri Lanka, December 2004
Ketupa zeylonensis


48–58 cm (19-22¾ in)

  • Rufous brown upperparts, streaked black
  • Pale underparts streaked and barred brown
  • White throat
  • Yellow iris


Subspecies semenowi
Photo by Seyed Babak Mus
Near to Gaz river in Hormozgan Province, Iran, Spring 2004

Widespread from Pakistan and India east to China and south to Malaysia.

Extremely rare in the Western Palearctic. A small populaton was recently rediscovered in the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey. May still occur in Jordan in the Yarmuk and northern Jordan Valleys but probably now extinct in the Golan Heights of Syria where not recorded in recent years. Formerly bred in northern Israel and also recorded in southern Iraq.

Recorded in Lebanon.



Subspecies orientalis
Photo by Godwin Chan
Hong Kong, May 2020

There are 4 subspecies[1]:

  • K. z. semenowi:
  • K. z. leschenaulti:
  • K. z. zeylonensis:
  • K. z. orientalis:

A recent study suggests that K. z. semenowi should be studied further because it may be a full species[3].


Lakes, rivers and streams with tree-lined margins, wadis with shrubs in the Golan Heights.



Ssp. leschenaulti
Photo by Alok Tewari
Gohana, Dist. Sonipat, Haryana, India, January 2017

The diet consists of frogs, crayfish, crabs, fish, mammals, birds and reptiles.


They use old nests made from sticks, or they nest on ledges. The 1 or 2 eggs are incubated for 38 days; the young fledge after about 7 weeks.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. World Owl Trust
  3. Birdforum thread discussing the taxonomy of Brown Fish Owl
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved August 2016)

Recommended Citation

External Links