Facts about Blakistons Fish Owl. Blakiston's Fish Owl is a fish owl that specializes in catching fish. The Blakiston's Fish Owl is also the largest living owl species in the world. The Blakiston's Fish Owl was named by Henry Seebohm after Thomas Blakiston, the biologist who identified the species in 1883. "Scientific name for Blakistons Fish Owl is Bubo blakistoni. It used to be called Ketupa blakistoni.
Physical Characteristics of Blakistons Fish Owl
The Blakiston's Fish Owl is very large and may be the largest owl in the world. Blakiston's Fish Owls are up to 28 inches (71 cm) long. Females weigh up to ten pounds (4.5 kg) each, while males weigh up to eight pounds. The facial disk does not have a distinctive rim. Blakiston's Fish Owls have dark brown feathers interspersed with black feathers. The wings are dark brown with yellow bars. Blakiston's Fish Owls have large yellow eyes. Blakiston's Fish Owls have a gray patch on the face and a dark gray bill. They have beige and brown under parts with black and brown streaks. The tarsi have cream colored feathers. The toes are dark grey, while their claws are dark.
There are two main subspecies. There is the mainland variety and then an island subspecies found in the Kuril Islands of Russia, Hokkaido Island in Japan and several other islands that string between them.
Behavior of Blakistons Fish Owl
Blakiston's Fish Owls form pair bonds around their second or third year. Blakiston's Fish Owls court every January or February, and if they breed that year, they will lay one to two eggs in March. Adults do not breed every year.
The parents nest in old growth tree cavities. The young fledge for four to six weeks after they are born. Blakiston's Fish Owls hunt mostly at night but may hunt during the day as well when feeding growing chicks.
Juveniles remain in the parent’s territory for their first year before moving on in their second year.
Their primary prey is fish. Blakiston's Fish Owls will eat smaller water fowl, small mammals and amphibians. Blakiston's Fish Owls eat more frogs in the spring due to their availability. In the winter, they eat mostly fish.
Habitat of Blakistons Fish Owl
The Blakiston's Fish Owl is only found in northeast Asia along rivers that don’t entirely freeze over during the winter. Its habitat is fragmented bits of forest along northern Japan, the Russian Pacific coast and northeastern China.
One of the biggest causes of death for the fish owl is fishing nets. They become entangled in fishing nets trying to catch the fish in the river and then drown. In other cases, they are caught in snares and die.
The greatest threat to their survival is logging along the rivers that destroy the large trees that they nest in. These are the trees most likely to be taken by loggers, and in the cold Pacific Rim, the rivers are natural highways that lead loggers deep into the wilds to take illegal timber.
Range of Blakistons Fish Owl
The Blakiston's Fish Owl is endangered. There may be fewer than two thousand breeding pairs in the wild, and there are very few in captivity. The highest density of this fish owl is around the Samarga River. A few live in the protected Primorsky Krai protected area.
Trivia of Blakistons Fish Owl
The Udege people of Russia used to hunt fish owls to eat; this is less common today due to more readily available sources of food and fewer of the fish owls available for food.
The Amur-Ussuri Center for Avian Biodiversity in Russia is working to save the species.
This owl is more closely related to the Eurasian eagle-owl than fish owls.