Eurasian Eagle-Owl

(Bubo bubo)

FUN FACT

Eurasian Eagle Owls have distinct individual vocalizations. Every member of a Eurasian Eagle Owl population can be reliably identified by voice alone.

Eurasian Eagle Owls are likely the largest species of owl in the world.  Great Grey Owls (Strix nebulosa) are slightly longer in the body, and Blakiston's Fish Owls (Bubo blakistoni) weigh a little more, but only the Eurasian Eagle Owl boasts a six-and-a-half-foot wingspan.  Its conscpicuous ear tufts are reminiscent of North America's Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), but the Eagle Owl's orange eyes and great size make it distinctive.

As an apex predator, the Eurasian Eagle Owl has no natural predators.  Even the Golden Eagle, with whom the Eagle Owl shares both range and food preferences, is seldom in direct conflict with the Owls, thanks to the birds hunting at different times of day (the Golden Eagle in daytime, the Eagle Owl at night).  A lifespan of 20 years in the wild isn't uncomoon for Eurasian Eagle Owls; birds in captivity have been known to live as much as 60 years.

Distribution

Throughout Europe and Asia.

Habitat

Diverse -- from northern coniferous forests to grasslands and deserts.

Diet

Small mammals of the rat, rabbit, and hedgehog size. Eagle Owls are also known to take other birds, and have even been seen to prey on fully-grown foxes or young deer, if they can be taken by surprise.

Breeding

Eagle Owls usually nest on cliffs and ledges, although they will sometimes take over abandoned Golden Eagle nests. The female starts laying in late winter, producing one egg every three days to create a clutch of up to six eggs. The male feeds the female, who stays on the nest for the next 31-36 days. Although the young owlets will be able to fly and leave the nest within seven weeks, parents will typically continue caring for their young for almost another six months.

Status

Not Under Threat (Least Concern)

At the Aviary

Our pair of Eurasian Eagles owls, X and Dumbledore, have taken up residence in Condor Court for the winter.