One of the two largest owls in the world, the Eurasian Eagle Owl, as its name suggests, is native to much of Europe and Asia,
and in diverse habitats. Previously extinct in the wild in the UK, in recent years several feral(?) eagle owls have recolonised, mainly in the north,
particularly in Scotland.
The female Eagle Owl (above left and right), which is usually larger/heavier than the male, puts her "ear tufts" flat against
her head more often than the male. The tufts of feathers are not in fact ears, although the owl has very good hearing through its real ears of which
one is higher than the other to allow very precise measurement of sound direction.
Like other orange-eyed owls, it hunts by day/dusk as well as (mainly) night. Prey is mainly small rodents but also
includes reptiles, other birds (including ducks, other owls and birds of prey), insects such as beetles and other small/medium mammals such as rabbits,
foxes and deer fawn (cats and small dogs have also been taken).
Like all owls, the structure of the wings allows for near silent flight.
There are several subspecies over its vast range. The nominal subspecies, shown, is usually
called the European Eagle Owl and has the wonderful trinomial of Bubo bubo bubo.
Turkmen/Steppe Eagle Owl, the rarest subspecies
Eagle Owl chick
The Turkmenian Eagle Owl, B. b. turcomanus (centre), is extinct in its former range of Turkmenistan but
is present over the steppes of Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia. It is the rarest eagle owl and the only one preferring steppe and semi-desert habitat.