Imperilled Custodians of the Night

Published 2 November 2010

Black magic behind illegal owl trade in India

New Delhi, India, 2nd November 2010—Use of owls in black magic and sorcery driven by superstition, totems and taboos is one of the prime drivers of the covert owl trade, finds a TRAFFIC India investigation into the illegal trade, trapping and utilization of owls in India.

Imperilled Custodians of the Night: illegal trade and trapping of owls in India

Report author(s):
Abrar Ahmed

Publication date:
November 2010


TRAFFIC’s investigations recorded 15 owl species in trade including Spotted Owlet, Barn Owl, Rock-Eagle Owl, Jungle Owlet, Collared Scops-owl, Brown Fish-owl, Dusky Eagle-owl, Mottled Wood-owl, Asian Barred Owlet, Collared Owlet, Brown Wood-owl, Oriental Scops-owl, Spot-bellied Eagle-owl, Tawny Fish-owl and the Eastern Grass-owl.

The investigations into the owl trade were conducted during nationwide studies of the bird trade undertaken between 1992–2000 with additional information gathered between 2001 and 2008. The prime investigator and author of the report is ornithologist Mr Abrar Ahmed.