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Blakiston's Fish Owl - BirdForum Opus

Nominate subspecies
Photo © by DaninJapan
Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan, 14 December 2010

Alternative name: Blakiston's Eagle-Owl

Ketupa blakistoni

Bubo blakistoni


Nominate subspecies
Photo © by Dave 2x
Hokkaido, Japan, July 2014

Length: 60-75cm (23¾-29½ in)

  • Buff brown, streaked upperparts
  • Pale buff brown underparts
  • Frayed ear tufts
  • White throat
  • Yellow iris
Nominate subspecies
Photo © by Godwin Chan
Hokkaido, Japan, 12 April 2023


Asia: found in the Russian Far East (including Sakhalin, where last seen in 1974) northeastern China, and Japan (Hokkaido); may be present in North Korea.


Bubo vs. Ketupa

The genus Ketupa as traditionally defined is embedded within the traditional genus Bubo, while genus Scotopelia may be embedded within the Ketupa group of species, or perhaps is sister to this clade. One solution is to move all species to Bubo, which was done by some checklists in the past. Another solution is to move some species from Bubo to Ketupa, which is the solution currently favored by both the IOC and Clements checklists, and here also implemented in The Opus. The current composition of Ketupa can be seen in the genus page Ketupa.


Two subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • K. b. doerriesi:
  • K. b. blakistoni:
  • Sakhalin Island, southern Kuril Islands, and northern Japan (Hokkaido)


Riparian forest, near water.



Nominate subspecies
Photo © by edenwatcher
Hokkaido, Japan, February 2008

The diet includes fish, amphibians, small mammals and birds.


It nests in trees.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Wikipedia contributors. (2019, April 29). Blakiston's fish owl. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:19, May 20, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Blakiston%27s_fish_owl&oldid=894779709
  4. BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Bubo blakistoni. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/04/2023.
  5. Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P., Wood, K.L., Sharpe, C.J. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Blakiston's Eagle-owl (Bubo blakistoni). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/55023 on 20 May 2019).

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