Scientific name: Strix aluco
Size: Up to 40cm
Distribution: Found throughout England, Scotland and Wales, but absent from Northern Ireland
Months seen: All year round
Habitat: Parks, gardens and wooded areas
Food: Small birds and mammals
Special features: Tawny Owls are sometimes called Brown Owls because of their colouring, or Wood Owls because of their favoured habitat. They are nocturnal birds, and during the day rest up in wooded areas, well camouflaged against the brown coloured tree bark.
The call of the tawny owl sounds something like "to-wooo" or sometimes "hoooouh.....ho, hohohohoooouh". This call is used by both males and females to attract each other, but it's more usually the male you will hear.
Hear Tawny Owls Calling
Click here for the MP3 - 136 KB
Click here for the WAV - 372 KB
There is also a shorter call which sounds something like "Kewick". This is used as an alarm call.
Hear a Tawny Owl Alarm Call
Click here for the MP3 - 12 KB
Click here for the WAV - 26 KB
The tawny owl is equipped with wing feathers which are extremely soft at the edges. This allows it to fly silently and surprise its prey. Tawny Owls swallow their food items whole and later regurgitate a pellet containing all the indigestible bones, teeth and fur (see links below).
It's estimated there are around 20,000 pairs of tawny owls in the UK.