Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Ketupa ketupu (Horsfield, 1821)

Species:K. ketupu
Common Names:Buffy Fish Owl, Malaysian Fish Owl
Status:Rare resident


The Buffy Fish Owl ranges from South Assam, Vietnam, South Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore to Sumatra, Borneo, Java, and Bali.


In Singapore, it has been recorded at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Lim Chu Kang, Pasir Ris, Pulau Ubin, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Tuas.

Locality Map

General Biology

The Buffy Fish Owl can be found in secondary forests, forest edges, mangrove forests, and rubber plantations. During the day, it usually roosts in a tall tree and emerges at about dusk to hunt. It regularly bathe to keep its feathers in optimum conditions.

Carelessly discarded fishing lines can be a hazard to these owls as they can get entangled, as described HERE of a successful rescue.


This owl eats large insects, crabs, fish, frogs, small birds, and mammals like rats. After eating it will cast a pellet consisting of the undigestable parts like feathers, bones, etc.

Life Cycle

The Buffy Fish Owl usually lays a single egg in the cup-like hollow formed by the leaves of the big epiphytic Bird's Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus), in tree holes or abandoned nests of some large raptors.


Wang, L. K. 2011. Owls. Pp. 402–403. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors). Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore. 552 pp.

Wang, L. K., M. Chan, Y. M. Chan, G. C. Tan & Y. C. Wee, 2009. Pellet casting by non-raptorial birds of Singapore. Nature in Singapore 2: 97-106.

Wang, L.K. & Hails, C.J. 2007. An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179, Singapore.

Related Activities/Events

Related Sounds

Spot any errors? Have any questions? Something to contribute? Email us at dbsthh@nus.edu.sg!
Presented by

Sponsored by