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Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies B. n. nipalensis
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Corbett NP, Garhwal County, Uttarakhand, India, 19 February 2016
Ketupa nipalensis

Bubo nipalensis

Alternative name: Forest Eagle-Owl


63 cm (25")


Subspecies B. n. blighi
Photo © by Steve G
near Sinharaja, Sri Lanka, 26 July 2009
  • Very large and pale
  • Dark eyes and whitish facial disk.
  • Broad white brow extending to long barred ear-tufts
  • Black chevrons on whitish belly.


Like adult but with broad pale patch on greater wing coverts.


Whitish and narrowly barred overall.


Southern and south-eastern Asia.


This is a polytypic species[1 consisting of 2 subspecies.


  • B. n. nipalensis: - Larger, more marbled and less evenly barred than blighi.

  • B. n. blighi: - Smaller, darker and more densely barred than nominate.


Evergreen, gallery and moist deciduous forests. Occasionally scrub edges and clearings.


It is nocturnal and spends the day hidden among foliage of a large forest tree.


Lays Feb–Mar in Himalayas and Nepal; Dec–Jan in S India; Apr–May in Sri Lanka. Nest in large tree cavity or abandoned raptor nest. Also bare soil in cave or fissure in rock wall. Usually one egg.


At dusk it becomes active and hunts small mammals, reptiles, and birds.


An eerie, high whining howl that drops steeply near end. Also shorter, mellow, descending plaintive calls.


  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. Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P. & Wood, K.L. (2016). Spot-bellied Eagle-owl (Bubo nipalensis). 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 http://www.hbw.com/node/55016 on 1 September 2016).
  3. Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672

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