1652. Ketupa zeylonensis zeylonensis

(1652) Ketupa zeylonensis zeylonensis Gmelin.
Ketupa zeylonensis ceylonensis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iv, p. 406.
The present race of Fish-Owl is found over the greater part of Southern India, South of a line drawn roughly at about the latitude of Bombay City on the West to the mouths of the Krishna River on the East. It is also common in Ceylon, the type-locality.
The breeding habits of all the Fish-Owls seem to be just the same, so that the description of the nidification of this one serves for all. They frequent both forest and well-wooded open country but will never be found far from water. In Ceylon they keep much to deep forest near streams, but in India they are quite as often found in well-wooded country, and their favourite breeding haunts are undoubtedly densely growing, shady Mango-orchards, Hume sums up bis description of the nests as follows “They always nest in the vicinity of water, sometimes choosing a cleft in. rocks overhanging a mountain stream, sometimes a broad shelf in the clay cliffs of some river, sometimes a huge cavity in some old banyan-tree, and at times appropriating an old nest of Haliaetus leucoryphus.
“Where they make their own nest, on a ledge or a recess of a cliff, it consists of little but a few sticks, mingled with a few feathers, or, when in holes of trees, of a few feathers and dead leaves ; but, when they annex an old nest, they seem to line it more carefully with finer twigs, grass and feathers. I have never found green leaves under the eggs of this speeies,”
The above hardly stresses the liking this bird shows to hollows between great boughs of trees for nesting sites. Thus as regards this particular race Blewitt in Raipur found an egg laid “in the hollow of a large mohwa-tree, where two branches had forked off.” Again, Vidal records “nine nests found from January to March, all in hollows or depressions in Mango-trees, one or two eggs or young ones in each,”
I have also heard of the, eggs being laid in a hole in a bank.
When old nests are made use of they are generally those of Eagles and Vultures, and the eggs have often been taken from old nests of the latter very high up. Betham found one in a nest of Pseudogyps fully 50 feet from the ground. When in hollows in Mango and other trees they are generally rather low down, between 10 and 20 feet from the ground.
In Ceylon this Fish-Owl breeds in June, July and August, and Wait says in April also. In India it is exclusively a Winter breeder, most birds laying from the end of November to the end of February and a casual bird or two in March and April.
The full clutch of eggs is two, rarely three and sometimes one only.
The eggs are white, and I have not seen any with the creamy tint mentioned by Hume.
Eight eggs average 58.7 x 48.0 mm. : maxima 64.8 x 47.5 and 59.1 x 48.9 mm. ; minima 55.9 x 47.3 mm.
I think the male of all the races of this Fish-Owl assists in incubation ; it certainly does so in both the Northern forms. At other times he keeps close to the nest when the female is sitting, and often gives away the position by his deep, grumbling notes, like an old man mumbling his displeasure at something.
Incubation with the Northern race takes live weeks approximately, a period probably applicable to all the races.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1652. Ketupa zeylonensis zeylonensis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Ceylon Brown Fish Owl
Ketupa zeylonensis zeylonensis
Vol. 3
Term name: 

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