Pel's Fishing-Owl | Scotopelia peli | Birds & Birding Southern Africa

The Pel's Fishing-Owl is a Southern African bird that belongs to the strigidae bird family group which includes birds such as Typical Owls.

Robert's Birding Information On The Pel's Fishing Owl

The description for the Pel's Fishing-Owl (Latin name Scotopelia peli) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Scotopelia peli can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 403 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 259. You will find a picture of the Pel's Fishing-Owl on page 272.

The Pel's Fishing Owl is known as a "lifer" in the birding circles of South Africa.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Pel's Fishing Owl in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Pel's Fishing-Owl between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Pel's Fishing-Owl is known in Afrikaans as Visuil.

The Pel's Fishing-Owl has a height of 63 cms and weighs around 2140 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured black. The Scotopelia peli has a grey, white coloured throat, brown legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black

Eyes are brown

Bill is black

Legs are brown

Throat is grey, white

Back is black

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Pel's Fishing Owl Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

The Scotopelia peli attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

Pel's Fishing Owl Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Pel's Fishing-Owl is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 2 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest within a tree cavity just a few meters above the ground. The hole in the tree is normally reused in the next nesting season.

The Pel's Fishing-Owl is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

You can see the Pel's Fishing-Owl bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds.

The Pel's Fishing-Owl is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.