Eurasian Eagle Owl
The Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) is a species of eagle owl resident in much of Eurasia. It is sometimes called the European eagle-owl and is, in Europe, where it is the only member of its genus besides the snowy owl (B. scandiacus), occasionally abbreviated to just eagle-owl. In India, it is often called the Indian great horned owl, though this may cause confusion with the similarly named American bird. It is one of the largest species of owl, and females can grow to a total length of 75 centimetres (30 in), with a wingspan of 188 centimetres (74 in), males being slightly smaller. This bird has distinctive ear tufts, the upper parts are mottled black and tawny and the wings and tail are barred. The underparts are buff, streaked with darker colour. The facial disc is poorly developed and the orange eyes give it a fierce expression.
The Eurasian eagle-owl is found in a number of habitats but is mostly a bird of mountain regions, coniferous forests, steppes and remote places. It is a mostly nocturnal predator, hunting for a range of different prey species, predominately small mammals but also birds of varying sizes, reptiles, amphibians, fish, large insects and earthworms. It typically breeds on cliff ledges, in gullies, among rocks or in some other concealed location. The nest is a scrape in which up to six eggs are laid at intervals and which hatch at different times. The female incubates the eggs and broods the young, and the male provides food for her and when they hatch, for the nestlings as well. Continuing parental care for the young is provided by both adults for about five months.
There are about a dozen subspecies of European eagle owl. With a total range in Europe and Asia of about 32 million square kilometres (12 million square miles) and a total population estimated to be between 250 thousand and 2.5 million individuals, the IUCN lists the bird’s conservation status as being of “least concern”.