Indian eagle owl
|Indian Eagle Owl|
|Conservation status||Least concern|
The Indian eagle owl (Bubo bengalensis) is a bird of prey of the family Strigidae (owls), and found throughout the Indian subcontinent.
Indian eagle owls are fairly large, with females slightly larger than males. They have a length of 19.6 to 22 inches; each wing is 14.1 to 15.3 inches for males, and 14.5 to 16.5 inches for females. The body weight is about 2.42 pounds. The back plumage is brown with conspicuous black and cream mottling. The abdomen is a lighter yellowish-brown with black-brown vertical stripes. The underwings are nearly-completely whitish in color, with pale brown banding near the ends of the primary and secondary flight feathers.
The face is emphasized by the black plumage above the eyes, which begins above the center of the eyes and runs in a line to the prominent ear tufts. The face itself is light brown with black spots, the number of which increases toward the forehead. The eyes are orange-yellow to orange-red, the beak greenish to black and the chin as well as the throat white.
The head and tail of the animals are yellowish-brown with a brownish-black striation, the bottoms are lighter and become white at the attachments. The legs and toes are beige-feathered, the toes themselves naked and green-brown with black claws.
Range and habitat
Indian eagle owls occupy a large part of the Indian subcontinent from Pakistan and extreme eastern Afghanistan; east to India, Nepal, Burma. It prefers stony semi-deserts with open vegetation and sparse trees, at no more than 5,000 feet elevation. It is also known to be a resident near human settlements and plantations.
Indian eagle owls are usually still-hunters; like other owls they can detect and strike prey moving about in near-total darkness by hearing alone, and from a perch can make a successful ambush. It will also fly near the ground in search of prey. Its diet includes rats and mice as well as birds up to the size of a peacock, reptiles, frogs, and large insects.
Breeding usually takes place from February to April, but can vary locally due to the different climatic conditions. The nest is a shallow pit, sheltered between rocks, on a sandbank in the river, among shrubs or other inaccessible spots.