Eurasian eagle owl
|Eurasian Eagle Owl|
|Population||300,000+ (2015 est.)|
|Conservation status||Least concern|
Eurasian eagle owls have wingspans of up to 6.6 feet, a body length of up to 28.4 inches, and weigh up to 10 pounds. Females are slightly larger than males, the sexual dimorphism between the two given solely by weight. The body has a massive appearance due to the outward fluff of the plummage, which is a blackish-brown with dark streaks above, and brownish yellow with dark stripes on its chest and belly. The wings are rounded; it has a short tail and a big head, which can turn 270 degrees. The facial disk, though well-defined, tends to blend in color with the head; the eyes are yellow-orange, and surmounted by the long tufts of "ear" feathers.
They are primarily forest birds, using it for cover during daylight hours, and hunt from sea level to generally where the forest line ends within mountainous areas. Grasslands near the forest line are also used as hunting grounds.
- Bubo bubo bubo; western Europe to western Russia
- Bubo bubo hispanus; Iberian Peninsula to Morocco (Atlas Mountains; possibly extinct)
- Bubo bubo hemachalanus; China: Pamirs and northern Tien Shan, south to western Himalayas and western Tibet
- Bubo bubo interpositus; Turkey and northwestern Iran to southern Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria
- Bubo bubo jakutensis; Russian: northeastern Siberia (Lena River to Sea of Okhotsk)
- Bubo bubo kiautschensis; China (south to Yunnan and Sichuan) to Korean Peninsula
- Bubo bubo nikolskii; eastern Iraq to Iran, Afghanistan and western Pakistan
- Bubo bubo omissus; Turkmenistan to western China
- Bubo bubo ruthenus; European Russia to Ural Mountains and lower Volga River basin
- Bubo bubo sibiricus; Russia: western foothills of Ural Mountains to Ob River and western Altai
- Bubo bubo turcomanus; Lower Volga and Ural rivers to northwestern China and western Mongolia
- Bubo bubo yenisseensis; Central Siberia to northern Mongolia
- Bubo bubo ussuriensis; southeastern Siberia to northeastern China, Sakhalin Island, Japan (northern Hokkaido and southern Kuril islands).
It feeds mainly on small mammals such as hares and rodents, birds, and even larger game up to the size of deer fawns. Like other owls they swallow whole small or medium-sized prey; body parts which are non-digestible (bones, feathers, hairs, chitinous parts of insects) are rejected in the form of pellets, which are regurgitated three to four times a week.
Eurasian eagle owls nest between March and April, and during that time breeding males will defend the nesting territory against intruding owls by indicating a presence by twilight hooting. Nests are within the crooks of trees or on rock ledges, and are usually previous nests built by other birds of prey or corvids. Females lay 2-3 white eggs (rarely up to 4) which are incubated 34-36 days; the young remain in the nest for 5-6 weeks; fledging is 30 days afterwards, and during that period they are dependent on the adults for food.