This is a monster-owl! He measures about 27 inches long, which is slightly shorter than our Great Grey Owl, but a mature female tips the scales at more than 9 pounds, twice the weight of our heaviest owl, the Great Horned.
Eagle Owls are found in North Africa, Europe, Asia, and parts of the Middle East, where they occupy a variety of habitats, from coniferous forests to warm deserts. Rocky landscapes are often favoured.
Fully nocturnal, like most owls, they employ various hunting techniques, taking prey on the ground or in full flight. They sometimes hunt in forests, but prefer open spaces.
Eagle Owls will eat almost anything that moves, from bugs to deer fawns. Mammals of various shapes and sizes make up most of their diet. Voles, rats, mice, and foxes, are common targets, but birds of all kinds are also taken, including crows, ducks, grouse, seabirds, and even other birds of prey (including other owls). Other prey includes snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, and crabs. The most common prey depends on relative availability. In some coastal areas, Eagle Owls have been known to feed mainly on ducks and seabirds.
Eurasian Eagle Owls can live more than 60 years in captivity. In the wild, about 20 years may be the maximum. A top-of-the-food-chain predator, they have no natural enemies. Electrocution, collision with traffic and wind turbines, and shooting are the main causes of death.
Photographed at the Hawk Creek Wildlife Centre
East Aurora, New York