Giant Owl Not Seen For 150 Years Is Photographed In The Wild For The First Time

October 26, 2021

A giant owl that was thought to be extinct has been photographed in the wild for the first time in 150 years by scientists working in Ghana.

giant owl sighting 150 years
Giant Owl / Credit: @robsrw and @ja_tobias

The Shelley's Eagle Owl was spotted by Rob Williams and Dr. Joseph Tobias on the Atewa ridge in Ghana.

It is the first confirmed sighting since the 1870s. The bird was first described in 1872 from a specimen obtained from a local hunter in Ghana.

Despite only seeing the bird for 10-15 seconds, Williams and Tobias managed to snap enough pictures to identify it.

Shelley's eagle-owls have distinctive black eyes, a yellow bill, and are huge in size, which in combination rule out all other African forest owls.

"It was so large, at first we thought it was an eagle," Tobias said. "Luckily it perched on a low branch and when we lifted our binoculars our jaws dropped. There is no other owl in Africa’s rainforests that big."

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