IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Biology

As its name suggests, Pel's fishing-owl feeds mainly on fish, typically taking prey of around 100 to 200 grams in weight, but sometimes up to an impressive 2 kilograms (2) (4) (5). It may also take frogs, crabs, freshwater mussels, large insects, and even small crocodiles (2) (4) (5). Most hunting takes place at night, from a perch close to the water, from which the owl swoops down to snatch its prey from the water's surface, probably after detecting surface ripples using its keen night vision (2) (4) (7). It may also sometimes wade into the water from the bank (2). Breeding in Pel's fishing-owl usually occurs after the flow of the river has peaked, typically between February and April, to ensure that the young can be fed as water levels begin to fall, concentrating prey in the river (2) (4) (5). The species is monogamous, and pairs usually only breed, on average, every other year (2) (5). The nest is built three to twelve metres above the ground, inside a tree cavity. Although up to two eggs are laid, usually only a single chick survives. The eggs hatch after an incubation period of 32 to 33 days, the surviving chick fledging after 68 to 70 days, but remaining dependent on the adults for up to a further nine months (2) (4) (5). Young Pel's fishing-owls reach breeding age at around two years old (4).

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Source: ARKive

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