Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)


Shelley's Eagle-owl (Bubo shelleyi)


French: Grand-duc de Shelley German: Bindenuhu Spanish: Búho barrado

Huhua shelleyi

Sharpe and Ussher

, 1872,

Fantee, Ghana


No obvious close relatives; may possibly have some vocal and morphological affinities with B. sumatranus of SE Asia. Monotypic.


Sierra Leone and Liberia E to Ghana, and S Cameroon and N Gabon E to N DRCongo#R, and S to S Congo; recently reported from SE Nigeria#R.

Descriptive notes

53–61 cm; one male 1257 g. Big, dark, heavily barred eagle-owl with “tousled” brown ear tufts; the only large, heavily built, strongly barred Bubo... read more


Loud, wailing “kooouw”, given irregularly at intervals of some seconds; continuous soft... read more


Lowland primary rainforest and forest edge, edge of clearings, gallery forest.

Food and feeding

Virtually nothing known; observed eating large flying squirrel. Large size and powerful feet suggest that variety of mid-sized to large... read more


In Liberia, intense calling in Mar; in Cameroon, adult roosting with possible juvenile in Dec; in DRCongo, recently fledged young found in... read more


Presumably resident.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Previously considered Near Threatened. CITES II. Global population roughly estimated at 1500–7000 individuals; populations assumed to be declining. Rare and... 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. (2019). Shelley's Eagle-owl (Bubo shelleyi). 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 7 December 2019).