Eurasian Eagle Owl

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Common Name: Eurasian Eagle-owl
Scientific Name: Bubo bubo

Size: 22 ¾ - 28 inches (58-71cm); Wingspan: 38 inches (93 cm)

Habitat: Eurasia; North Africa, Europe, Asia, Middle East. Found in a variety of habitats, from coniferous forests to warm deserts. Rocky landscapes are often favored. Adequate food supply and nesting sites seem to be the most important prerequisites.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: 250,000 to 2,500,000. They have no real natural enemies; electrocution, collision with traffic, and shooting are the main causes of death.

Diet: The most common type of prey depends largely on relative availability, but are mostly mammals (Voles, rats, mice, foxes, hares). Birds are also taken, including crows, ducks, grouse, seabirds, and other birds of prey (such as small hawks and other owls). Prey can also include snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, and crabs.

Eagle Owls have various hunting techniques, and will take prey on the ground or in full flight. They may hunt in forests, but prefer open spaces. Active mainly at dusk to dawn

Nesting: Females are significantly larger than Males. The Male and Female duet during courtship, the Male advertising potential breeding sites by scratching a shallow depression at the site and emitting staccato notes and clucking sounds. Favored nest sites are sheltered cliff ledges, crevices between rocks and cave entrances in cliffs. They will also use abandoned nests of other large birds. If no such sites are available, they may nest on the ground between rocks, under fallen trunks, under a bush, or even at the base of a tree trunk. No nesting material is added. Often several potential depressions are offered to the female, who selects one; this is quite often used again in subsequent years. Very often pairs for life. They are territorial, but territories of neighboring pairs may partly overlap.

Nesting generally begins in late winter, sometimes later. One clutch per year of 1-4 white eggs are laid, measuring 56-73mm x 44.2- 53mm (2.2- 2.9" x 1.7- 2.1") and weighing 75- 80g (2.6- 2.8oz). They are normally laid at 3 days intervals and are incubated by the female alone, starting from the first egg, for 31-36 days. During this time, she is fed at the nest by her mate. Once hatched, the young are brooded for about 2 weeks; the female stays with them at the nest for 4-5 weeks. For the first 2-3 weeks the male brings food to the nest or deposits it nearby, and the female feeds small pieces the young. At 3 weeks the chicks start to feed themselves and begin to swallow smaller items whole. At 5 weeks the young walk around the nesting area, and at 52 days are able to fly a few meters. They may leave ground nests as early as 22-25 days old, while elevated nests are left at an age of 5-7 weeks.

Fledged young are cared for by both parents for about 20-24 weeks. They become independent between September and November in Europe, and leave the parents' territory (or are driven out by them). At this time the male begins to sing again and inspect potential future nesting sites. Young reach maturity in the following year, but normally breed when 2-3 years old.

Cool Facts: When threatened Eagle Owls, they may bark and growl. Each member of an Eagle Owl population can be identified by means of its vocalizations.

Eagle Owls have seen known to take small deer (up to 22 lb/10kg)

Found in Songbird ReMix Owls of the World Volume 1

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