Usambara eagle-owl

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Usambara eagle-owl
Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club (1964) (20436926822).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Bubo
B. vosseleri
Binomial name
Bubo vosseleri
Reichenow, 1908

The Usambara eagle-owl, also called the East African nduk eagle-owl or Vosseier's eagle-owl, (Bubo vosseleri) is a taxon of owl in the family Strigidae.[1] It is now regarded as a subspecies of Fraser's eagle-owl (Bubo poensis). It is endemic to Tanzania.


The Usumbara eagle-owl is a large owl with tawny brown upperparts which are barred with darker brown and creamy white underparts, with brown blotches on the breast and irregular black bars on the belly. The facial disc is pale tawny with broad black borders at the sides, the long ear tufts are tawny brown. The bill is bluish white and the eyes a dull yellowish orange with bluish white eyelids, while the legs and feet are whitish. The juvenile resembles the adult but has a white line along the scapulars. The length (including the tail) is 490 mm (19 in).[2] The differences between this taxon and Fraser's eagle-owl are that it is slightly larger, a more prominent dark margin to the facial disc, denser darker blotching on the breast and fainter markings on the rest of the underparts.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Usambara eagle-owl is endemic to Tanzania where it occurs in the Usambara Mountains in the north east, recently discovered in the Uluguru Mountains and there has been a possible sighting in the Nguru Mountains.[4]

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests between 900 and 1,500 m (3,000 and 4,900 ft) above sea level.[3] It is threatened by habitat loss.[5]


The latest view of Birdlife International and the IUCN is that Bobo vosseleri is to be treated as a subspecies of Fraser's eagle-owl as the plumage and vocal differences between the two taxa are very slight.[5][6] The IOC and the Clements taxonomy, however, treat it as a separate species.[7][8]


  1. ^ White, G. B. (June 1974). "Rarest Eagle Owl in Trouble". Oryx. 12 (4): 484–486. doi:10.1017/S003060530001231X.
  2. ^ Borrow, Nik; Demey, Ron (2001). Birds of Western Africa. A & C Black. ISBN 0-7136-3959-8.
  3. ^ a b König, Claus; Weick, Friedhelm; Becking, Jan-Hendrick (1999). Owls A Guide to the Owls of the World. Pica Press. pp. 301–302. ISBN 1-873403-74-7.
  4. ^ "Usambara Eagle-owl (Bubo vosseleri)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Bubo poensis". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Archived 2014 discussion: Fraser's Eagle-owl (Bubo poensis) and Usambara Eagle-owl (B. vosseleri) are being lumped as B. poensis: list the newly defined species as Least Concern?". BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums. Birdlife International. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  7. ^ Gill, F.; Donsker, D. (June 25, 2018). "IOC World Bird List (v 8.2)". Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded August 14, 2018 from

External links[edit]