European Eagle Owl - Bubo bubo
The European Eagle Owl prefers to hunt at dusk but will often hunt during the day. Like most Owls it has a slow, gliding flight and catches it's prey with it's very large powerful feet.
The European Eagle Owl is found throughout Europe and Asia but although widespread is locally rare.
The female lays from 1 to 4 eggs in late winter. Incubation is 31 to 36 days, the young walk around by the nest site at five weeks old and they fledge at 52 days.
The European Eagle Owl is endangered in many parts of Europe by persecution from humans, some countries are now reintroducing this owl through captive breeding.
The European Eagle Owl is the largest of the worlds Owls with females able to reach a weight of ten pounds and over. They are able to catch quite large prey and although they live mainly on a diet of small mammals they have been known to take small roe deer and foxes.
The European Eagle Owl is now known to be breeding in Britain after being hunted to extinction in the eighteenth century. A pair had been breeding in Yorkshire for ten years but sadly the female was shot. They had produced twenty-three young in that time, only two of these youngsters have ever been found, sadly both dead.
It seems quite probable that some of these Eagle Owls have come to Britain from Europe quite naturally, but sadly many people have these Owls and when they get fed up with them they release them into the wild. They can live to be sixty years old plus in captivity; to release captive bred owls into the wild is very cruel and also illegal.
It's natural habitat is mountainous, forested areas, rocky slopes and semi-desert and it nests in caves or on rocky ledges. It is pale brown in colour with lighter brown barred areas and it has large orange eyes. It has a large head with large ear tufts.
The European Eagle Owl is certainly the most awesome of the worlds Owls; it is known in France as "Le Grand Duc" (Grand Duke) - a fitting title for such a magnificent creature.