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Eagle Owls


Latin name:Bubo bubo

Size:  Up to 70cm in length.  Wingspan 140 - 170cm.

Distribution:  Rare.  Known to be breeding on the North York Moors. Frequently seen near Dunston Bridge in The Forest of Bowland in Lancashire.  One was spotted in the centre of Bristol in 2008.

Months seen:  All year round.

Habitat:  Mountains, and forests with rocky areas

Food:  Birds and mammals.

Special features:  European eagle owls are the largest owls found in the UK.  The plumage is a light brown colour with black speckling on the wings, back and head.  There are large black ear tuft feathers and black 'eyebrow' lines above the eyes.  The eyes are bright orange (sometimes yellowish), and the beak is black.

Eagle owls are most active between dusk and dawn.  The call sounds like "oohu".

The eagle owls found in the UK are most likely individuals which have escaped from private collections, although some could have flown over from the continent.  Fossil records suggest that Eagle Owls were present in the UK at the end of the last ice age.

It's possible there could be over a hundred individuals in the UK now, with over a dozen breeding pairs.  As these birds live to about forty five and have no natural enemies in the UK (other than man) these numbers are likely to increase.  A pair will produce one or two chicks each year.  Avoid getting close to the birds during the breeding season (spring).

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