Eagle Owl in winter.
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The Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) is a species of horned owl resident in much of Europe and Asia.
The Eagle Owl is a large and powerful bird, smaller than the Golden Eagle but larger than the Snowy Owl. It has a wingspan of up to 138-200 cm (55-79 in) and measures 58-75 cm (23-30 in) long. Females weigh 1.75-4.2 kg (3.9-9.4 lbs) and males weigh 1.5-3.2 kg (3.3-7 lbs). In comparison, the common Barn Owl weighs about 500 grams (1.1 lbs). It mainly feeds on small mammals, but can kill prey up to the size of foxes and young deer (up to 10 kg/22 lb), if taken by surprise. Larger prey (over 3 kg/7 lb) is consumed on the ground which leaves the bird vulnerable (for example to foxes).
Face of a female Eagle Owl.
The call of the Eagle Owl is a deep resonant "ooh-hu"? with emphasis on the first syllable for the male, and a more high-pitched uh-Hu for the female (in German, the name of this bird is "Uhu"). Each member of an Eagle Owl population can be identified by means of its vocalizations.
The size, ear tufts and orange eyes make this a distinctive species. It has a strong direct flight. The ear tufts of males are more upright than those of females.
The horned owls are a part of the larger grouping of owls known as the typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae.
The Eagle Owl is largely nocturnal and is found in mountains and forests with cliffs and rocky areas, usually nesting on cliff ledges. They live for around 20 years although like many other bird species in captivity they can live much longer, perhaps up to 60 years.
Although Eagle Owls are usually considered to be a bird of the wilderness, they have been observed hunting vermin on open landfills in Northern Europe. This poses a certain risk for the owls as any pollutants the rats they feed on have ingested may be enriched in the owls. Eagle Owls that hunt on landfills have also sometimes been seen flying with waste entangled around their feet.
Eagle Owls have also been observed living in European cities. Since 2005, at least five couples have nested in Helsinki. The number is expected to increase due to the growth of a wild rabbit population in Helsinki, most likely originating from released pet rabbits. In June 2007, an Eagle Owl nick-named 'Bubi' landed in the crowded Helsinki Olympic Stadium during the European Football Championship qualification match between Finland and Belgium. The match was interrupted for six minutes. After tiring of the match, following Jonathan Johansson's opening goal for Finland, the bird left the stadium. Finland's national football team have had the nickname Huuhkajat (Finnish for Eurasian Eagle-owls) ever since. The owl was named "Helsinki Citizen of the Year" in December 2007. As a curiosity, the surname of famous Finnish footballer Sami Hyypiä means "eagle owl" in parochial Finnish.
- Bird of prey
- Eurasian Eagle-owl in Great Britain