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Species Guide
A photo of a Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo)
Eurasian Eagle-Owl

Eurasian Eagle-Owl

Bubo bubo

The Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) is a formidable avian predator and one of the largest owl species. The females, which are larger than the males, can reach a total length of 75 cm (30 in) and boast a wingspan of up to 188 cm (6 ft 2 in). This species is characterized by prominent ear tufts, mottled upper parts with darker blackish and tawny coloring, barred wings and tail, and a buff underpart streaked with darker shades. The facial disc is not sharply defined, and the orange eyes are a striking feature.

Identification Tips

To identify the Eurasian eagle-owl, look for its large size, barrel-shaped body, and erect ear tufts. The orange eyes are distinctive, and the plumage is a mix of brown-black to tawny-buff with dense freckling on the forehead and crown, and dark splotches on a pale background on the back and mantle. The underparts are creamy to tawny with fine dark barring.


Eurasian eagle-owls favor a variety of habitats but are predominantly found in mountainous or other rocky regions near woodland edges, shrubby areas, and wetlands. They also inhabit coniferous forests, steppes, and other areas at varied elevations that are typically remote.


The Eurasian eagle-owl has an extensive range across Europe and Asia, from the Iberian Peninsula to Japan. It is also present in the UK, where it is considered non-native.


This species is mostly nocturnal, hunting a variety of prey from small mammals to larger birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. They are sedentary and territorial, with a deep, resonant territorial call.

Song & Calls

The male's territorial call is a deep "ooh-hu," while the female's is higher-pitched. They may also produce a faint laughter-like sound and a harsh "kveck-kveck."


Eurasian eagle-owls typically breed on cliff ledges, in gullies, or among rocks. The female incubates the eggs and broods the young, while the male provides food. Both parents care for the young for about five months.

Similar Species

The Eurasian eagle-owl can be distinguished from other large owls like the great grey owl and Ural owl by its ear tufts and orange eyes. It is also larger than the snowy owl.

Diet and Feeding

The diet is mainly small mammals, such as rodents and rabbits, but also includes larger mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and large insects.

Conservation Status

The IUCN lists the Eurasian eagle-owl as Least Concern, with a decreasing population trend. However, it remains widespread with a large total population.

Eurasian Eagle-Owl Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Eurasian Eagle-Owls on Birda


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