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Blakiston's Eagle-owl Bubo blakistoni
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Justification
This owl has a very small, rapidly declining population due to widespread loss of riverine forest, increasing development along rivers and dam construction. It therefore qualifies as Endangered. However, recent information suggests the population size may be greater than previously thought. If this is confirmed, the species may warrant downlisting to Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Bubo blakistoni (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Ketupa.

Synonym(s)
Ketupa blakistoni (Seebohm, 1884)

Identification
60-72 cm. Massive owl with long, broad, horizontal ear-tufts. Pale grey-brown facial disc. Buff-brown, broadly streaked upperparts. Buff and dark brown barred wings. Pale tail with dark bars. White throat. Pale buffish-brown underparts with long streaks. Orange-yellow iris. Grey-horn bill with yellowish tip. Voice Call of a single adult bird is a short, deep, hu-HUUU. Males and females also duet, with the structure differing between subspecies. Begging call a long, loud, slurred peeeeer-peeeeer-peeeeer.

Distribution and population
Ketupa blakistoni is found in the coastal mountain ranges of Russia's Far East, north to Magadan, including Sakhalin Island (although it has not been recorded here since 1974), the southern Kuril Islands and the Amur Basin (J. Slaght in litt. 2012); the mountains of Heilongjiang, Jilin and eastern Inner Mongolia, China, and central and eastern Hokkaido, Japan. It probably occurs in North Korea. The population numbers 250-400 birds in Primorye, Russia, an area representing the extreme south of its range, and by extension the total population size is likely to be a few thousand (J. Slaght in litt. 2012). It is declining in Russia, China, and Hokkaido.


Population justification
The global population is estimated to number a few thousand birds, based on estimates of 250-400 in Primorye alone (J. Slaght in litt. 2012). It is precautionarily placed in the band 1,000-2,499 mature individuals, equating to 1,500-3,749 individuals in total, rounded here to 1,500-4,000 individuals. Surveys throughout its range are required to gain a more accurate estimate than this.

Trend justification
A number of threats exist which impact negatively upon this species, owing to its requirement for clean, stocked, relatively undisturbed waterways. Hence it is suspected to be declining rapidly.

Ecology
It inhabits dense forest, with large, old trees for nest-sites, near lakes, multi-chanelled rivers, springs and shoals that do not freeze in winter (J. Slaght in litt. 2012). Fish forms the main part of the diet but small mammals, birds, amphibians, insects and crustaceans are also taken.


Threats
Logging of riverine forest, conversion of forest to farmland, development along riverbanks and the construction of dams are the major threats. Over-harvesting of fish, especially salmonids, has reduced food availability in Russia and Japan. Disturbance is a problem across its range and river pollution, hunting and trapping are also threats (J. Slaght in litt. 2012). On Hokkaido, birds are killed through collision with powerlines and traffic and drowning in nets on fish-farms. Incidences of close inbreeding have been reported on Hokkaido, likely as a result of the small population there numbering just c.35 pairs (Hayashi 2009).


Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is legally protected in all range states. It has been recorded from several protected areas including Magadanski, Botchinski, Verkhnekhorskiy and Kuril'ski (Russia), Changbai Shan (China), and Shiretoko and Hattaushi (Japan). On Hokkaido, there is a programme of supplementary feeding and nest-box provision. The Blakiston's Fish-owl Project was initiated in 2005 in Russia as a collaborative study with the Amur-Ussuri Center for Avian Biodiversity, to conduct research on a variety of issues, including habitat-use and nest monitoring, as well as building scientific capacity and increasing conservation awareness (Anon. 2008, Slaght and Surmach 2008, Slaght 2009, J. Slaght in litt. 2012). Collaborative activities are ongoing, with planned projects in Primorye and in Magadan, including surveys of the Iman River Basin, Primorye, and a study of prey preference during the breeding season (J. Slaght in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed

Conduct surveys of river basins along the Okhotsk Sea coast, the lower Amur Valley (Russia) and in China and North Korea. Designate a national park encompassing three existing protected areas on the Bikin River, Primorye; designate a protected area along the Anyuy River, and create a system of specially protected areas in the Khor River Basin (Russia).  Develop and extend the current captive breeding programme.  Design and implement a recovery plan for the river systems and forests in Hokkaido (Japan). Provide nest-boxes especially where nest trees have been removed. Draft regulations to restrict human access to key sites during the breeding season and to ban fishing on stretches of river used by the species. Eliminate use of potential nest trees for bridge construction. Institutionalize logging road closures post-harvest (as a necessary component of compliance with Forest Stewardship Council certification) to reduce human access to riparian zones (J. Slaght in litt. 2012). Develop methods to reduce mortality due to collision with power-lines and traffic and drowning in nets. Instigate public awareness and education campaigns in all range states.

References
Anon. 2008. Blakiston's Fish-owl conservation. Flight Path 2(1): 8.

Anon. 2008. Blakiston's Fish-owl conservation. Flight Path 2(1): 8.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

Hayashi, Y. 2009. Close inbreeding in Blakiston's Fish-owl (Ketupa blakistoni). Journal of Raptor Research 43(2): 145-148.

Hayashi, Y. 2009. Close inbreeding in Blakiston's Fish-owl (Ketupa blakistoni). Journal of Raptor Research 43(2): 145-148.

Hayashi,Y. 2006. Life history of the endangered Blakiston's Fish Owl in Japan. Journal of Ornithology 147(5): 179.

Slaght, J. 2009. Chasing a giant. Wildlife Conservation 112(2): 44-49.

Slaght, J. 2009. Chasing a giant. Wildlife Conservation 112(2): 44-49.

Slaght, J. C.; Surmach, S. G. 2008. Biology and conservation of Blakiston's Fish-owls (Ketupa blakistoni) in Russia: a review of the primary literature and an assessment of the secondary literature. Journal of Raptor Research 42(1): 29-37.

Slaght, J. C.; Surmach, S. G. 2008. Biology and conservation of Blakiston's Fish-owls (Ketupa blakistoni) in Russia: a review of the primary literature and an assessment of the secondary literature. Journal of Raptor Research 42(1): 29-37.

Surmach, S. G. 2006. Short report on the research of the Blakiston's Fish Owl in the Samarga River valley in 2005. Raptors Conservation: 66-67.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Chan, S., Derhé, M., Peet, N., Khwaja, N.

Contributors
Slaght, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Bubo blakistoni. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/07/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Strigidae (Typical Owls)
Species name author (Seebohm, 1884)
Population size 1000-2499 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,870,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species