Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Strigiformes Strigidae

Scientific Name: Bubo shelleyi
Species Authority: (Sharpe & Ussher, 1872)
Common Name(s):
English Shelley's Eagle-owl, Shelley's Eagle-Owl, Shelley's Eagle Owl
French Grand-duc de Shelley
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Rainey, H.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is suspected to have a moderately small population which may be in decline owing to the clearance of its habitat for timber and agriculture. However, further information is required on habitat trends and population structure.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Bubo shelleyi is a large, rare forest owl known from scattered locations from Sierra Leone to northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (Borrow and Demey 2001). It is known from the following sites: Gola (Sierra Leone); Lofa-Mano, Mt Nimba, Zwedru, Balagizi Mts (Liberia); Taï, Mt Nimba (contiguous with Mt Nimba in Liberia) (Côte d'Ivoire); Ghana (two old records only; Grimes 1987); 'south' Cameroon (Borrow and Demey 2001); Ipassa Strict Nature Reserve (Gabon); Dimonika Biosphere Reserve (Congo); Okapi Faunal Reserve (DRC). B. shelleyi is the largest African forest owl, and may thus require large areas of good quality habitat and thus have a small population, possibly below 10,000 individuals.

Countries occurrence:
Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Gabon; Ghana; Liberia; Sierra Leone
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 231000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species may require large areas of good quality habitat and thus have a small population, possibly below 10,000 individuals. It is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 individuals, equating to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be declining owing to high rates of forest clearance within parts of its range.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 1500-7000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is one of the most poorly known owls in Africa, and its ecology and behaviour are largely unknown (Koenig 1999); it has been recorded from inside forest, on forest edge and in clearings, in lowland areas (del Hoyo et al. 1999; Fry et al. 1988). Its full range of vocalisations have not been documented (Chappuis 2000), which is probably a factor in the paucity of records. It has been observed eating a large flying squirrel, and its large size and powerful feet suggest a diet of medium-sized to large prey (Fry et al. 1988). A captive bird required c.110 g of flesh per day (Fry et al. 1988). The timing of breeding is not clear; although intense calling has been noted in March, nestlings have been seen in September-November and fledged juveniles have been observed, or possibly observed, in December (del Hoyo et al. 1999; Fry et al. 1988).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 11.6
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Upper Guinea forests are being cleared at a very high rate and the forests of Cameroon and much of Central Africa are also likely to suffer reductions in area and quality over the next few decades.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It is known from several protected areas. However, no targeted conservation action is known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Encourage the recording of as much information as possible from sightings, including habitat type, prey and relative abundance compared to other areas or preceding years (H. Rainey in litt. 2007). Carry out research into the species's ecology and behaviour, and record its vocalisations. Once a range of vocalisations have been recorded, conduct extensive surveys for the species. Monitor the clearance and degradation of lowland forests within the species's range. Increase the area of suitable habitat covered by protected areas.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Bubo shelleyi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22688980A37978291. . Downloaded on 07 October 2015.
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