Eagle Owl: Characteristics, Behavior And Habitat
The eagle owl owl ( Bubo bubo ) is one of Birds of prey best known. Thanks to its majesty and abundance, it has become very popular in the practice of falconry . Its scientific name comes from the Middle Ages and represents the sound that this bird of prey makes.
Eagle Owl Characteristics
This species of owl has a brown and spotted plumage, with different shades of brown, black and white. The color composition will depend on the subspecies. It has two tufts of feathers on the sides of its head, in addition to the typical “ears” characteristic of these charismatic animals. The ears of this animal are more bristly in males. The eyes have the most notable feature of this animal, because they have a very intense orange color.
The size and weight of this animal varies greatly between the different regions in which they live. However, it can reach 1.7 meters in length and more than four kilos. This makes it the largest nocturnal bird of prey on the planet.
Like other nocturnal birds of prey, their flight is especially silent, thanks to combinations of rigid and flexible feather bands. In addition, the feel of the plumage is velvety, which allows him to be a very accurate hunter.
The eagle owl has especially powerful claws, like the rest of owls and eagles. However, these animals have a much shorter beak than their daytime counterparts. This does not prevent the beak from being especially strong for tearing its prey.
They are solitary animals, which only come together during mating. At that time, they make nests on trunks or cliffs, where they lay two to six eggs in winter. As for hunting habits, he is considered to be at the top of the food chain. That’s because it has no predators, except humans.
The eagle owl doesn’t just hunt rodents or rabbits. It is also capable of capturing young deer or lambs weighing up to 10 kilos. Furthermore, it is capable of capturing other predators such as foxes and other birds of prey. Among its prey are even animals such as the vulture.
Usually, their hunting techniques are notorious. That’s because these birds are protected by their heightened senses and their silent flight. Thus, they can fly over open spaces and fall on their prey without their shadow being drawn on the ground.
This species can be found in very diverse habitats. She lives in places as different as the desert regions of Africa, Asia or the tundra of Northern Europe. There are up to 20 subspecies of different sizes and plumages, although they are all very similar.
In fact, some have recently been separated into other species thanks to DNA analysis. Among them are the Bengali owl or the Sahara owl, for example.
Furthermore, it is a very adaptable and undemanding animal. In Spain, they tend to live in mountainous areas, with abundant rocks and streams. Its presence in dense forests is less frequent. However, its distribution depends on rabbit populations.
In the past, this animal was much more abundant. However, in the last 60 years, it has suffered a major setback due to indiscriminate hunting and poisoning, especially in Europe.
Despite this, it continues to enjoy good health in its populations. Also, fortunately, its population has been recovering in recent years. This is mainly due to the fact that protection measures for all birds of prey have improved. Especially, due to the restriction on the use of lead, DDT and other toxins that affected these animals a lot.