Bubo shelleyi


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

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

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.

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.

Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Gabon; Ghana; Liberia; Sierra Leone
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.
Population Trend: Decreasing

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

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. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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