Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)


Rufous Fishing-owl (Scotopelia ussheri)


French: Chouette-pêcheuse rousse German: Rotrücken-Fischeule Spanish: Cárabo pescador rojizo

Scotopelia ussheri


, 1871,

Fantee, Ghana




Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana; possibly also Guinea.

Descriptive notes

46–51 cm; male 743 g, female 834 g (n = 1 for each sex). Head tawny, with indistinct facial disc and no ear tufts; upperparts dark rufous and unbarred (aside... read more


Deep, dove-like “ooo”, repeated at 1-minute intervals. Call similar to that of White-... read more


Endemic to Upper Guinea Forest. River and lagoon edges in lowland forest, mainly primary but also... read more

Food and feeding

Little known; catfish found in 1 stomach. Presumably hunts mostly at night, but occasionally active during day (photographed at mid-day on... read more


Very little known. Nestlings collected in Sierra Leone suggest only 1 young raised from egg laid Sept–Oct; in Liberia, juvenile still... read more


Probably resident; possibly some local movements, as with S. peli.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Formerly listed as Endangered but now known to be more widespread than previously thought. CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in Upper Guinea... 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. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Rufous Fishing-owl (Scotopelia ussheri). 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 29 February 2020).