Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Rock Eagle-owl (Bubo bengalensis)


French: Grand-duc indien German: Bengalenuhu Spanish: Búho bengalí
Other common names: Indian Eagle-owl

Otus Bengalensis


, 1831,

River Ganges between Calcutta and Varanasi and in Vindhyan Hills between Varanasi and Gurra Mundela, India


Thought to be part of the B. bubo species-group (see that species). Sometimes treated as conspecific with B. bubo; degree of range overlap, if any, with latter uncertain, but some intergradation evident in NW Himalayas#R; the two differ, however, in DNA and voice. A recent molecular study found that present species may possibly be sister to B. africanus#R. Monotypic.


Indian Subcontinent (except Sri Lanka) N to foothills of Himalayas.

Descriptive notes

50–56 cm; one male c. 1100 g, one 90-day-old young c. 1374 g. Large, dark brown owl with prominent ear-tufts. Resembles B. bubo; differs from race ... read more


Deep double hoot on single pitch, “bu-whúoh”, with second note longer and... read more


Rocky hills and wooded country with scrub, ravines, old mango plantations, groves with aged trees,... read more

Food and feeding

Small mammals, especially rodents; also birds to size of peafowl (Pavo), lizards, snakes, frogs, fish, crabs and large insects.... read more


Lays Oct–May, chiefly Feb–Apr; peak periods vary locally. Double-brooded, at least in captivity, but not even replacement... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. No details on population levels; generally uncommon, but perhaps more common locally in N & C India. Records from... read more

Recommended citation

Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P., Wood, K.L., Kirwan, G.M. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Rock Eagle-owl (Bubo bengalensis). 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 on 20 January 2020).