EAGLE OWL - Origins, characteristics and photos!

Eagle Owl: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. In the Strigidae family, among owls, owls and other...

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In the Strigidae family, among owls, owls and other nocturnal birds, is the magnificent Eagle Owl. This species is unique in many ways, showcasing its regal appearance and great adaptability.

The Eagle Owl is an animal that has been admired since medieval times, especially for its particular song. It is also very useful for controlling pests and preventing invasive species from nesting in areas they are not native to. Want to know a little more about the Eagle Owl and its main characteristics? Keep reading this PlanetAnimal page and discover the most interesting facts about these incredible animals.


  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Afghanistan
  • Germany
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • China
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Spain
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Lithuania
  • Monaco
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Czech Republic
  • Russia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden

History of the Eagle Owl

The eagle owl belongs to the genus Bubo, to which more than 20 species of owls belong. These species are present in different countries and are characterized by their large size.

Specifically, the eagle owl has a total of 16 subspecies, each with unique and special characteristics:

  • Japanese Eagle Owl.
  • European Eagle Owl.
  • Himalayan Eagle Owl.
  • Iberian Eagle Owl.
  • Byzantine Eagle Owl.
  • Yakutian Eagle Owl.
  • Chinese Eagle Owl.
  • Afghan Eagle Owl.
  • Turkmen Eagle Owl.
  • Russian Eagle Owl.
  • West Siberian Eagle Owl.
  • Tarim Eagle Owl.
  • Tibetan Eagle Owl.
  • Steppen Eagle Owl.
  • Ussouri Eagle Owl.
  • East Siberian Eagle Owl.

These owls get their scientific name from the sound of their song, which resembles the onomatopoeia "bubo, bubo" , hence in medieval bestiaries, where it was highly valued, it was called exactly the same way that this onomatopoeia.

Historically, they performed different tasks when bred in captivity, which is relatively easy, since it is easy to domesticate them. This is why they have been common for centuries in falconry, as well as in the fight against invasive species and to avoid the nesting of unwanted birds, such as seagulls or pigeons.

Characteristics of the Eagle Owl

The Eagle Owl is a large nocturnal bird or raptor, as the average size of one of these owls is about 70 centimeters from head to tail, 150 centimeters in wingspan, and its weight is between 2.5 and 3.5 kilograms.Despite this, some specimens exceeded 4 kilos and 170 centimeters in wingspan, being really very large.

They have amazing and striking eyes of a deep orange color, presenting a bold and penetrating gaze. Like all owls, this one has two tufts of feathers that look like ears, placed on the sides of the skull. Curiously, males usually have the feathers of these plumes more spiky, which is used by experts to differentiate males from female eagle owls.

In addition to their impressive size, they have strong and sharp claws, ready to act at any time. This, combined with their short but powerful beak, makes them a deadly predator, capable of capturing pieces considerably larger than themselves.

The plumage of this bird consists of a coat of feathers, in fact a mixture of flexible and rigid feathers, which allow it to fly in an extremely discreet way. These feathers are brown and mottled, and vary from brown to white to black.

Habitat of the Eagle Owl

The Eagle Owl is widely distributed throughout Eurasia, except in arctic and tropical areas of Southeast Asia, as well as in arid areas such as Arabia or island areas such as the Mediterranean islands or the United Kingdom. This species generally avoids population centers, preferring locations farther from humans.

In general, these birds are very adaptive, as they only need enough space to perform their flight maneuvers well. However, they seem to prefer areas with cliffs and ravines, where there are trees and bushes, as they tend to nest on rock, as we will comment on when discussing their breeding habits. The reason they avoid arid or polar areas is the lack of prey available to them, as it is in wooded areas or soft soils that they can capture rodents that dig their burrows in these soils.

As for altitude, the eagle owl does not suffer from vertigo, since it inhabits places as high as the Alps (reaching 2100 meters above sea level), the Himalayas or the Tibetan mountains.

They are not migratory birds, they usually live in the same place for their whole life, being sedentary and not abandoning their homes except in cases of extreme need, such as habitat destruction or lack of food.

Reproduction of the eagle owl

In the reproduction of the eagle owl, its courtship should be emphasized, because it is then that the males emit their famous courtship song. It can be heard from autumn to winter, where it becomes more powerful. After courtship, which includes the male singing and various movements that serve to attract the female, copulation takes place.

Between the months of January and February, the female lays a clutch, usually composed of 2 to 4 completely white eggs, which will be the only one of the year.These eggs must be incubated for about 35 days, which the mother does exclusively. In order to lay the eggs, the females prepare their nests where they can, without building a nest as such, but taking advantage of natural nests, such as holes in trees or cavities in rocks, although they have also been seen taking advantage of the nests of other birds found in trees.

The incubation starts from the laying of the first egg, which is why the chicks do not hatch at the same time, but at different times from each other, which means that there is a hierarchy of food at this time, from birth. In this way, the eldest has an advantage, because when his brothers or sisters are born, he is bigger and stronger than them.

Chicks are fed by both parents, but the female spends much more time and effort feeding her young, which begin to explore the surroundings of the nest soon after hatching.However, they only make their first flights at around 2 months of age, being fed by their parents for an additional month, and leaving their nest for good at 3 months of age.

Eagle owl diet and habits

The eagle owl is a solitary animal, which only meets its congeners during the mating season. With regard to the diet of the eagle owl, it is considered a super predator, being at the top of the food chain, because apart from human beings, it has no natural predators. They are carnivorous and feed on their prey, preferably rabbits and partridges.

They are nocturnal birds that move with incredible ste alth, being able to stalk their prey for a long time without it being aware of their presence. They stalk them until they feel the time is right, then lunge at them, clutching them with their sharp claws and powerful beaks.It is notable because in addition to rabbits and rodents, which are smaller, they are able to hunt animals such as fawns, which weigh over 10 kilos, more than twice their own body weight.

Conservation status of the eagle owl

As eagle owls prey mainly on partridges and rabbits, they were chased by hunters, who saw their prey taken from them by these animals. Until 1973, when the species was legally protected, it was considered vermin and was ruthlessly wiped out.

But it's not just hunters who are dangerous for the conservation of this species, as there have been many cases of eagle owls dying from their impact against wind turbines and fences, others were crushed and still others were electrocuted because they had leaned on electrified lines. But the saddest thing is the number of them who die at the hands of poachers and because of the irretrievable destruction of their habitats.

For all these reasons, the eagle owl is considered a species of special interest, given that it is no longer considered an endangered species due to the improvement in the evolution of its populations. Specifically, it is estimated that in Europe the numbers are between 12,000 and 42,000 pairs.

Images of Eagle Owl

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