Eurasian Eagle Owl
|Scientific name||Bubo bubo|
|Length||2-3 feet (61-91 cm)|
|Wingspan||5-7 feet (1.5-2 m)|
|Weight||5-8 pounds (2.2-3.6 kg)|
|Life span||20 years in wild; 60 years in captivity|
|Number of young at birth||1-4 eggs|
|Age of maturity||2-3 years|
An agreeable bird
Eagle owls are found across Northern Europe through Asia and can also be found in Northern Africa. They prefer rocky outcrops and coniferous forests, but will just as easily hunt in open plains.
Eagle owls typically prey upon medium-sized mammals and birds such as opossums, hares, foxes, ducks, quail and pheasant. They seem to prefer rabbits and hares. They will also eat insects and small rodents.
A familiar look
Eagle owls look very much like the great horned owl, but are much bigger birds. They are large owls with prominent ear tufts that are usually not raised upright. Because of this, their feather tufts probably help them more with communication and recognition than camouflage. Eagle owls usually have a streaked breast and mottled brownish feathers. The Eurasian eagle owl, like most owls and raptors, has no color difference between the sexes, but females are larger than males. Their large eyes are a brilliant orange-yellow or a deep, fiery orange.
How they hunt
Most often, Eurasian eagle owls swoop silently down on their prey from above, like other owls. Their flight action has been compared to that of a buzzard (hawk). They can catch their prey in the air or on the ground. Like most owls, eagle owls have excellent hearing and night vision.
Eagle owl family life
Eagle owls build their nests on rock ledges or in caves and, unlike great horned owls, will rarely occupy the abandoned nest of another bird. Their breeding season is from the end of February to the end of April. The number of eggs they lay depends on the availability of prey and may number from 1-4 in a clutch. The female does most of the incubating for the 32-35 days while the male searches for food. At about seven to eight weeks, the chicks are ready to fly, but still require food from the parents for several weeks after that.
A mighty bird
Adult eagle owls will make a long, booming “oo-hoooh” sound, except during mating season when the females sometimes make a coarse “kraaah” sound (the chicks also make this sound). Eagle owls are the largest owl in the world and are incredibly aggressive and powerful. They are able to attack a peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest bird, and easily win. Eagle owls have been compared to golden eagles in their ferocity, hunting style, and territorial aggression.