Brown Fish Owl (Ketupa zeylonensis)

Brown Fish Owl (Ketupa zeylonensis)

The Brown Fish Owl (Ketupa zeylonensis) is a medium to large-sized owl belonging to the family Strigidae. It is found in a wide range of habitats across the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and parts of China. The Brown Fish Owl inhabits forests, wetlands, and riverine areas.

Physical Characteristics:

The Brown Fish Owl measures around 48-55 centimeters (19-22 inches) in length, with a wingspan of approximately 110-130 centimeters (43-51 inches). It has a large, rounded head, with distinctive ear tufts and large, forward-facing eyes. The bird’s plumage varies depending on the subspecies and location, but it generally has a brown or grey-brown coloration, with darker spots and streaks. The bill is large and hooked, and the legs and feet are feathered. Both males and females share similar coloration and markings, with little sexual dimorphism.


The Brown Fish Owl primarily feeds on fish, frogs, and other aquatic animals, such as crustaceans and mollusks. It may also consume small mammals, birds, and reptiles. The bird hunts by perching near water bodies, scanning for prey, and diving down to capture its target using its sharp talons.

Reproduction and Lifecycle:

The breeding season for the Brown Fish Owl typically occurs between December and May, depending on the location. These birds are monogamous and form long-lasting pair bonds. They build a large, stick nest in a tree or on a rock ledge, usually near water sources.

The female lays 1 to 3 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for around 35-40 days. After hatching, the chicks are fed and cared for by both parents until they fledge, or leave the nest, at about 7-8 weeks old. The young birds become fully independent within a few months of fledging.

Conservation Status:

The Brown Fish Owl is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its wide distribution and stable population. The species is not facing any major threats at present. However, habitat loss due to deforestation, agricultural expansion, and urbanization, as well as hunting and trapping, could pose potential risks to the Brown Fish Owl population in the future. Conservation efforts focus on habitat preservation and monitoring populations to ensure their long-term survival.

Updated: 20 April 2023 — 15:07

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