Barred Eagle-Owl
Bukit Batok Nature Park
20 Apr 2023

General details
Species Barred Eagle-Owl Ketupa sumatrana
Record ID 10540
Date 20 Apr 2023
Location Bukit Batok Nature Park
Count 1 individual
Date added 01 Jun 2023

This record has not been accepted by the Records Committee. For more details, see below.

Committee's view
The record was initially accepted with a vote of 4-3. A re-opening of the vote led to it not being accepted with a vote of 5-2, with the main reason being the photograph being insufficient to prove a Barred Eagle-owl. 
Vote results Against: 5, For: 2
Wild: 2
Verdict Not accepted (Verifiable)

Committee's view (prior to reopening)
Vote results Against: 3, For: 4
Wild: 4
Verdict Accepted / Wild (Verifiable)

First identification was a large-sized owl due to body shape (large, somewhat stocky, rounded wings) and flight behaviour (silent, slow wing beats), eliminating other nocturnal birds and smaller owl species. Similar looking species were spotted wood owl (size and colouration), and buffy fish owl (ear tufts). However, yellow beak and the lack of a contrasting facial disk and ear tufts eliminates the spotted wood owl. Dark back and wing colouration, along with barred underside and underwings, eliminated the buffy fish owl.
Silent flight with slow wing beats was made into the condominium from neighbouring forest. The owl perched in an exposed tree present in the condominium for sometime, observing surroundings with head movement. The owl then flew across open area (playground) into a separate large tree, where it continued observing the environment. A sudden, seemingly unprovoked rapid flight was made and it collided with something out of sight, before returning back to the large tree where it was obscured by branches. Shortly after it flew back into the neighbouring forest, with similar flight pattern (slow wing beats, smooth flight). General habitat: open area surrounded by housing blocks with several large trees planted Feeding behaviour: unobserved Skittishness: cautious of individuals Flight action: silent flight, with slow deep wing beats and smooth flight pattern (non-erratic and not jerky)
Viewing conditions
As it was night, the surrounding environment was not well-lit. However, enough light from neighbouring homes and street lamps allowed for identification. Warm night, no rain and little wind. Bird was roughly 30 meters away at first before flying to a tree roughly 13 meters away.
Observer's experience
Familiar with the species through literature and images on social media. Have not seen the species in the wild before.
Observer's experience w/similar species
Familiar with spotted wood owls due to previous nesting in school campus, as well as literature and images on social media. Familiar with buffy fish owls through literature and images on social media. Has seen the bird in captivity (Night Safari Singapore), but not in the wild.

Revisions to this record
Date revised Changes made
28 Mar 2024 This vote was reopened as 50% of the committee voted to do so. The details of the original vote are given above.


Bird Society of Singapore. (2023). Record 10540: Barred Eagle-Owl Ketupa sumatrana. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from

Credit for photo(s): Isaac Khoo

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