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Common Name : Forest Eagle Owl     -       Scientific Name : Ketupa nipalensis       -       Other Name : Devil Bird, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl (E), Ulama, Ukusu Bakamoona(S)
Humbas Wala
10/13/2013
Humbas Wala
10/13/2013

This the largest species of Owl found in the country. The subspecies found in the island K. n. Blighi is endemic.  This impressive nocturnal hunter is found from lower Himalayas to Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Indian Sub continent, Southeast Asia and southern Thailand.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Near Threatened” (National Red List 2012).

This is a species protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

The Forest Eagle Owl is found throughout the country in dense forests. This bird has been the subject of folklore myth due to its mating call, which includes dreadful shrieks, and strangulating noises. I have seen and heard the unmistakable call of this species at many dry zone National parks including Yala, Udawalawa, Nilgala, Randenigala Minneriya, Lahugala and Kumana. I once observed this species capture and kill black-naped Hare at Medapitiya campsite in Wasgomuwa National Park.

In the wet zone I have heard its human like hoot at Meethirigala forest reserve, Bombagaskanda and even at Labugama just out side the District of Colombo. It is found in the highest hills and also in forests of Punareen in the north.

It is found throughout Wilpattu but is seldom seen during the day. In October 2013 I was lucky enough to photograph a fine specimen of this bird at Humbas Wala. The bird was perched on a branch growing across above the road and permitted to get a few photos before flying off in to the forest.