The impressive eagle owl
ensures balance in nature
- Scientific name: Bubo bubo
- Spanish: Búho real / Gran duque
- Catalan: Duc / Brúfol
- Euskera: Hontz handi
- Galician: Bufo real
- Class: Birds
- Order: Owls
- Family: Owls
- Species: Eagle owl
Degree of protection of the eagle owl
The eagle owl is a globally protected animal.
The eagle owl is included in the List of Wildlife Species under Special Protection Regime.
It is a protected animal of least concern. Its population is increasing.
Distribution of eagle owls
The eagle owl is found almost everywhere in Europe and Asia. But in places with very cold climates it is replaced by the snowy owl (the owl from the Harry Potter movies), in deserts by the pharaoh eagle-owl, and in the jungle by tropical owls.
Thanks to strong protection, the eagle owl population is increasing in many countries, although it has not yet reached its original distribution.
Eagle owl habitat
The eagle owl prefers areas with abundant ravines and cliffs surrounded by a large number of trees and shrubs.
However, it is also found in tundras and semi-deserts, in humid areas and by the sea.
It lives up to 4,700 meters above sea level in the Himalayas.
Eagle owls are carnivores
Globally, the diet of the eagle owl includes some 600 different species. But depending on their territory, each individual specializes in hunting 1-3 species.
They usually hunt mammals and birds.
- Mammals up to the size of a young roe deer.
- Birds (also other owls and raptors)
When there is a shortage of food, it also feeds on:
- Occasionally corpses
How does the eagle owl hunt?
The eagle owl is a twilight owl
Their night vision stands out from other animals.
It waits motionless in high places, observes and listens. Once it detects the prey, it opens its impressive wings and with its silent flight approaches the animal.
Its claws mercilessly dig into its victim’s body with deadly force. Once the prey dies of suffocation, with its strong beak it breaks the prey into small pieces that it can swallow.
The habits of the eagle owl
What does the eagle owl do during the day?
This creepy nocturnal hunter has many enemies during the day. Many birds, even small goldfinches, attack the eagle owl during the day if they discover it. They try to force the eagle owl to fly away to attract the attention of a golden eagle, its natural predator.
Consequently, during the day the eagle owls look for nooks and crannies where they can wait in hiding until nightfall, when they will transform into invincible beings.
Reproduction of the eagle owl
The eagle owl forms a pair for life. They reach adulthood at the age of 1 year.
From September onwards, new pairs are formed and existing pairs increase their territorial behavior. Fall courtship lasts for months and ends in March with the breeding season.
Where does the eagle owl nest?
Eagle owls prefer to nest in small rockshelters. They also occupy the nests of other raptors or nest directly on the ground.
The female lays 2 – 4 eggs which she incubates for 34 days. In the first year only 30% of the born owls survive.
Eagle owl hatchlings
- Newly hatched chicks weigh 60 grams.
- At 16 days they can stand up.
- If the nest is on the ground, at 4 weeks of age, the babies go out to explore the environment.
- If the nest is high, they leave the nest at 10 weeks of age.
- At 8 weeks they begin to practice flying.
- At 3 months they have their final weight of 2 – 3 kg.
- The parents care for their offspring for 5 months.
How many years can an eagle owl live?
In the wild they usually live 15 – 20 years. In captivity they can reach more than 40 years of age.
Young eagle owls have many predators:
- Raccoons (invasive species)
- Wild boars (if the nest is on the ground)
Only the golden eagle is capable of hunting an adult eagle owl.
What needs to be done to protect the eagle owl?
Natural walls where eagle owls nest or may nest should not be used for climbing.
Delimit a radius of at least 500 meters around an eagle owl nest and protect it from human access at all costs.
Do not use poisons and expand environmental education about the immense importance of the eagle owl for our nature.
Electric towers and wind power generators often end the lives of this precious animal.
For centuries humans have persecuted eagle owls.
Gunshots, poison, electric towers…
Protect this huge owl and be proud that in our country the eagle owl population is becoming more stable again.