Global Distribution and Population Estimates of Blakiston’s Fish Owl

  • Jonathan C. SlaghtEmail author
  • Takeshi Takenaka
  • Sergei G. Surmach
  • Yuzo Fujimaki
  • Irina G. Utekhina
  • Eugene R. Potapov
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


Blakiston’s fish owl Bubo blakistoni is a large, endangered, aquatic prey specialist distributed throughout Northeast Asia. The island subspecies B. b. blakistoni is presently restricted to eastern Hokkaido Island and to Kunashir Island, with past records also from Sakhalin and Shikotan Islands. The mainland subspecies B. b. doerriesi is found along the western Sea of Japan coast and the western and northern coasts of the Sea of Okhotsk. The island population, at present, contains approximately 166–182 individuals, which represents an increase from a population low in the late 1980s. The size of the mainland population is more difficult to quantify given large expanses of un-surveyed potential habitat, but we estimate a range of 800–1600 individuals. Thus, globally, there are approximately 1000–1900 individuals (or 500–850 pairs) in the fish owl population.


Blakiston’s fish owl Endangered Hokkaido Island Japan Population size Russia Species distribution 


  1. Andreev AV (2009) The Blakiston’s fish owl (Ketupa blakistoni) at north-eastern limits of is range. Osnabrücker Naturwissenschaftliche Mitteilungen 35:47–54Google Scholar
  2. Bardin AV (2006) Autumn encounter with a Blakiston’s fish owl Ketupa blakistoni on Sakhalin. Russkii Orn. Zhurnal Ekspress-vypusk 15:738–739. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  3. Berzan AP (2005) Analysis of modern distribution and population size of Blakiston’s fish owls in the southern Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. In Volkov SV, Morozov VV, Sharikov AV (eds) Owls of Northern Eurasia. Working Group of Birds of Prey and Owls, Moscow, Russia, pp 447–449 (in Russian with English summary)Google Scholar
  4. BirdLife International (2001) Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. Birdlife international, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  5. Brazil MA (1991) The birds of Japan. Christopher Helm, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Brazil MA, Yamamoto S (1989a) The behavioural ecology of Blakiston’s fish owl Ketupa blakistoni in Japan: calling behaviour. In Meyburg B-U, Chancellor RD (eds) Raptors in the modern world: proceedings of the III world conference on birds of prey and owls, Eilat, Israel, 22–27 March, 1987. WWGBP, Berlin, Germany, pp 403–410Google Scholar
  7. Brazil MA, Yamamoto S (1989b) The status and distribution of owls in Japan. In Meyburg B-U, Chancellor RD (eds) Raptors in the modern world: proceedings of the III world conference on birds of prey and owls, Eilat, Israel, 22–27 March, 1987. WWGBP, Berlin, Germany, pp 389–401Google Scholar
  8. Cherskii AI (1915) Ornithological collection of the Museum for Study of the Amurskii Krai in Vladivostok. Zapisi O-va izucheniya Amurskogo kraya 14:143–276. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  9. Dykhan MB, Kisleiko AA (1988) Number and distribution of Blakiston’s fish owls on Kunashir Island during the breeding period. In Litvinenko NM (ed) Rare birds of the Russian far East and their protection. Dalnevostochnoe Otdeleniye Akademii Nauk SSSR, Vladivostok, Russia, pp 29–32. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  10. Gizenko AI (1955) Birds of Sakhalin Oblast. Akademii Nauk SSSR, Moscow, Russia. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  11. Grigorev YM (2005) New data about Blakiston’s fish owl distribution and numbers on Kunashir and Shikotan Islands. In Volkov SV, Morozov VV, Sharikov AV (eds) Owls of Northern Eurasia. Working Group of birds of prey and owls, Moscow, Russia, pp 450–452 (in Russian with English summary)Google Scholar
  12. Hayashi Y (1999) Past and present distribution of Blakiston’s fish-owl (Ketupa blakistoni) in Hokkaido, Japan – based upon museum specimens. Yamashina Inst Ornithol 31:45–61. (In Japanese with English summary)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ilyashenko VY, Kalyakin MV, Sokolov EP, Sokolova AM (1988) Ecological, faunistic and systematic studies of Palaearctic birds, pp 70–88. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  14. Kolbin VA (2008) Status of rare and game species of birds in the northern Pri-Amur, focusing on the Komsomolskii and Norskii Reserves. Russkii Orn. Zhurnal Ekspress-vypusk 17:1602–1611. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  15. Kuroda N (1931) A new subspecies of Bubo blakistoni from Sakhalin. Tori 31:41–42. (in Japanese with English summary)Google Scholar
  16. Meise W (1933) Zur systematic der fischeulen. Ornith Monatsber 41:169–173. (in German)Google Scholar
  17. Mikhailov KE, Shibnev YB (1998) The threatened and near-threatened birds of northern Ussuriland, south-east Russia, and the role of the Bikin River basin in their conservation. Bird Conserv Int 8:141–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Murata S (1914) Karafuto Dobutsu Hokoku (Report on the animals of Sakhalin, in Japanese)Google Scholar
  19. Nagata Y (1972) Observations of the Japanese Blakiston’s eagle owl in the eastern part Hokkaido. Sci Rep Kushiro City Museum 217:3–9. (in Japanese with English summary)Google Scholar
  20. Nazarenko AA, Gamova TV, Nechaev VA, Surmach SG, Kurdyukov AB (2016) Handbook of the birds of Southwest Ussuriland: current taxonomy, species status and population trends. National Institute of Biological Resources, Incheon. 256 ppGoogle Scholar
  21. Nechaev VA (1969) Birds of the southern Kuril Islands. Nauka, Leningrad. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  22. Nechaev VA (1991) Birds of Sakhalin Island. Amur-Ussuri Center for Avian Biodiversity, Vladivostok. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  23. Nechaev VA, Fujimaki Y (1994) Checklist of birds of South Kuril-Kunashiri, Etorofu, Shikotan and Habomai. Hokkaido University Press, Sapporo. (in Japanese and Russian)Google Scholar
  24. Nechaev VA, Kurenkov VD (1986) New evidence on birds on the Kunashir Island. The distribution and biology of birds of Altai and Far East, pp 86–87. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  25. Omote K, Surmach SG, Kohyama TI, Takenaka T, Nishida C, Masuda R (in press) Phylogeography of continental and island populations of Blakiston’s fish owl, bubo blakistoni (strigiformes: strigidae) in northeastern Asia. J Raptor ResGoogle Scholar
  26. Poyarkov ND, Budris RR (1991) Notes on birds of Lake Mukhtel, western coast of the Sea of Okhotsk. Ornitologiya 25:172–174. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  27. Pukinskii YB (1973) Ecology of Blakiston’s fish owl in the Bikin river basin. Byull Mosk O-va Ispyt Prir Otd Biol 78:40–47. (in Russian with English summary)Google Scholar
  28. Red Book of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (2014) Rare and endangered species of animals, Institute of Complex Analysis of Regional Problems, Khabarovsk. 182 p (in Russian)Google Scholar
  29. Slaght JC, Surmach SG (2008) Biology and conservation of Blakiston’s fish owls in Russia: a review of the primary literature and an assessment of the secondary literature. J Raptor Res 42:29–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Slaght JC, Surmach SG (2016) Blakiston’s fish owls and logging: applying resource selection information to endangered species conservation in Russia. Bird Conserv Intl 26:214–224. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smirenskii S, Smirenskaya Y (1980) Some rare and little-studied birds of Jewish Autonomous Region (Khabarovskii Krai). Ornitologiya 15:205–206. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  32. Spangenberg YP (1940) Observations of distribution and biology of birds in the lower reaches of the Iman River. Moscow Zoo 1:77–136. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  33. Spangenberg YP (1965) Birds of the Iman River. In Investigations of avifauna of the Soviet Union. Moscow State University, Moscow, pp 98–202. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  34. Surmach SG (1998) Present status of Blakiston’s fish owl (Ketupa blakistoni Seebohm) in Ussuriland and some recommendations for protection of the species. Report Pro Natura Foundation 7:109–123Google Scholar
  35. Surmach SG (2006) Short report on the research of the Blakiston’s fish owl in the Samarga river valley in 2005. Peratniye Khishchniki i ikh Okhrana 5:66–67. (in Russian with English summary)Google Scholar
  36. Taczanowski L (1886) Liste supplémentaire des oiseaux recueillis dans le sud-ouest du pays Oussourien. Bull Soc Z Fr 1886:305–310. (in French)Google Scholar
  37. Taczanowski L (1891) Faune Ornitologique de la Siberie orientale. Premiere partie. Memoris de l’Academie Imperiale des Sciences de St Petersbourg. Serie 7, 39 1278 p. (in French)Google Scholar
  38. Takahashi T (1937) A list of the birds from Saghalien. Saghalien Local Museum 1:1–280Google Scholar
  39. Takenaka T (1998) Distribution, habitat environments, and reasons for reduction of the endangered Blakiston’s fish owl in Hokkaido, Japan. Ph.D. thesis, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, JapanGoogle Scholar
  40. Teryoshkin VA, Kolobaev NN (2003) Rare birds of the Norskii Reserve and surrounding territories. In Sbor. Ctatei k 5-letiyu Norskogo zapoovednika. Blagoveshchensk-Fevralsk, Blagoveshchensk, Russia, pp 81–85. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  41. Tomek T (1999) The birds of North Korea. Non-passeriformes. Acta Zool Cracov 42:1–217Google Scholar
  42. Utekhina IG, Potapov ER, McGrady MJ (2016) Nesting of the Blakiston’s fish-owl in the Nest of the Steller’s sea eagle, Magadan Region, Russia. Peratniye Khishchniki i ikh Okhrana (32):126–129.  10.19074/1814-8654-2016-32-126-129
  43. Vorobev KA (1954) Birds of the Ussuriiskii Region. Akademii Nauk SSSR, Moscow. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  44. Voronov GA, Pronkevich VV (1991) New ornithological finds in Khabarovsk Province. Byull Mosk O-va Ispyt Prir Otd Biol 96:23–27. (in Russian with English summary)Google Scholar
  45. Voronov GA, Zdorikov AI (1988) Blakiston’s fish owl on Kunashir Island. Rare birds of the Far East and their protection, pp 23–28. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  46. Yakovlev BP (1929) Animal world of Manchuria: birds. Obshchestvo Izucheniya Manchzhurskovo Kraiya, Kharbin. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  47. Yamamoto S (1999) The Blakiston’s fish owl. Hokkaido Shinbun Press., 189 pp. (in Japanese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan C. Slaght
    • 1
    Email author
  • Takeshi Takenaka
    • 2
  • Sergei G. Surmach
    • 3
  • Yuzo Fujimaki
    • 4
  • Irina G. Utekhina
    • 5
  • Eugene R. Potapov
    • 6
  1. 1.Wildlife Conservation SocietyBronxUSA
  2. 2.Fish Owl Institute (FILIN)SapporoJapan
  3. 3.Institute of Biology and Soil SciencesRussian Academy of Sciences-Far Eastern BranchVladivostokRussia
  4. 4.Yamashina Institute for OrnithologyAbikoJapan
  5. 5.Magadanskii ReserveMagadanRussia
  6. 6.Bryn Athyn CollegeBryn AthynUSA

Personalised recommendations