Buffy Fish Owl (Ketupa ketupu)


Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family:    Strigidae
Size:    Length: 17 to 20 inches (43 to 50 cm) Wingspan: 17 inches (36 cm)
Weight: Average 2.8 to 4.6 pounds (1.3 to 2.1 kg)
Diet: Fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects, rodents and carrion
Distribution: Asia
Animal Predators:  Larger birds of prey
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Owlet   Group: Parliament
Lifespan: Unknown



·     These owls are also known as Malay fish owls.    

·     Recent DNA results show that fish owls are closely related to eagle owls.



These beautiful, medium-sized owls are named for the yellowy beige (also known as “buff”) feathers on their heads and chests that are interspersed with dark, vertical streaks. Their large eyes are yellow and they have long ear tufts. They have rich brown feathers on their back. There is a white “V” on their forehead that begins from the tip of the bill and extends over each eye. 



Buffy fish owls can be found in Malaysia, Thailand and the Indonesian Islands. They live in forested areas with a nearby water source so that they have access to fish. 


Feeding Habits

Buffy fish owls mostly eat fish. With their talons, they catch fish that are swimming just below the surface. They also sometimes eat other animals that are found near water, including frogs, reptiles, rodents and insects. They are also known to feed on carrion when it is available. 



Buffy fish owls do not build their own nests, but rather use the abandoned nests of other birds or a tree cavity. The female lays one egg, which hatches approximately one month later. When the owlet is about 45 days old, its flight feathers begin to grow in. 


These owls enjoy being in water and may stand there for quite awhile, as they watch for prey to swim by. They have a loud call that sounds like “kutook, kutook.”  


Buffy fish owls are not considered a conservation concern.