Tawny owls are a kind of wood owl that is roughly the size of a wood pigeon and is fiercely territorial. These medium-sized owls may be found all throughout Europe and in certain parts of Asia, though they prefer forested areas in Europe. In reality, these owls are one of Europe’s most frequent owls, as well as the most prevalent bird of prey in the United Kingdom.
Tawny Owl Scientific Classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Strigiformes
- Family: Strigidae
- Genus: Strix
- Scientific Name: Strix aluco
- Tawny Owl Conservation Status: Near Threatened
- Tawny Owl Locations: Asia, Eurasia, Europe
Tawny Owl Facts
- Main Prey: Mice, Vole, Insects
- Distinctive Feature: Large eyes and fantastic hearing
- Wingspan: 81cm – 105cm (32in – 41in)
- Habitat: Dense forest and open woodland
- Predators: Hawks, Eagles, Buzzards
- Diet: Omnivore
- Lifestyle: Solitary
- Favorite Food: Mice
- Type: Bird
- Average Clutch Size: 3
- Slogan: The most widespread owl in Europe!
Tawny Owl Physical Characteristics
- Colour: Brown, Grey Black, White, Tan
- Skin Type: Feathers
- Top Speed: 50 mph
- Lifespan: 4 – 6 years
- Weight: 350g – 650g (12oz – 23oz)
- Height: 38cm – 43cm (15in – 17in)
Incredible Tawny Owl Facts!
- Brown owls are another name for tawny owls.
- Tawny owls are frequently mistaken with the tawny frogmouth, an owl-like bird.
- This owl is credited with the famous “twit twoo” sound. This, however, is a misconception of the sound of overlapping male and female noises.
Tawny Owl Scientific Name
Strix aluco is the scientific name for the tawny owl. Strix is a Greek word that means “owl.” Aluco, on the other hand, is derived from the Italian terms allocco. From the Latin ulucus (“screech-owl”), Allocco implies tawny owl. Brown owls are another name for them.
Tawny Owl Appearance
Tawny owls are large owls that may grow up to 43cm tall and have wingspans of up to 100cm. They are stockier than other owls of the same genus, such as eagles and Ural owls. These owls weigh around a pound on average. It is distinguished by its rounded head and body, as well as a ring of darker feathers around its eyes. In the wild, they are brown, grey, or reddish-brown in hue. Tawny owls have lighter underparts with black streaks in all hues.
Females are 5 percent longer and 25 percent heavier on average than males. The northern subspecies is 10% longer and 40% heavier on average than the other subspecies.
Tawny Owl Behavior
The owls in this picture are nocturnal birds of prey. In most cases, this means they may be seen sleeping in their tree hole nests during the day. Males may be spotted hunting during the day to obtain food for their partner during the early spring mating season.
During the autumn, winter, and early spring, these nimble owls are exceedingly loud. They may often be heard hooting and shrieking in the middle of the night. They use these different cries to identify their territory, communicate with other owls, and attract a mate. They may be rather violent while guarding their nests. They injure humans more than any other species of bird in Europe. Unless they have a partner or owlets, tawny owls do not reside in groups.
Tawny Owl Habitat
Tawny owls are considered resident birds throughout their vast 3.8 million square mile habitat. These owls may be found in the wild all the way from the United Kingdom to western Siberia. Despite the fact that these owls are sometimes mistaken for tawny frogmouths, they do not even share the same continent. This indicates that they do not move outside of their home range. When fledglings leave their parents’ nests, they don’t have to go far to locate their own territory.
These owls prefer deep forest and woodland habitats. During the day, they may slumber undisturbed in these covered settings. They want to be near water and may be found in deciduous and mixed woods. Green spaces in urban settings, such as cemeteries and parks, have allowed their habitat to grow into regions such as downtown London. Lowlands are also preferred by them, especially in colder climates.
Because of their exceptional vision and hearing, they are well-adapted to forest settings. Tawny owls’ evolution has given them front-facing eyes for superior binocular vision since they are nocturnal. Their eyesight is a hundred times greater than humans’. They’ve also evolved ear apertures that are distinctively designed to aid directional hearing.
Tawny Owl Diet
Because tawny owls are nocturnal, they may make use of their superior hearing and night vision to quickly catch their prey. Their flight is virtually entirely devoid of sound, making it simple for them to glide down to their prey. Small rodents like voles and mice, as well as insects, frogs, and fish, are prey for these owls. They consume their prey fully, much as other owl species do. They will regurgitate anything that is indigestible after a few hours. These inedible portions come non the shape of grey pellets that are medium in size and contain hair and microscopic bones.
Other, less aggressive forest owls are preyed upon by tawny owls. Because of this, little owls and long-eared owls have a difficult time coexisting with them.
Tawny Owl Predators and Threats
In comparison to other birds of prey, tawny owls are tiny birds. Because of their diminutive size, they are more evident prey for a variety of natural predators in their surroundings. Larger birds of prey, such as hawks, eagles, buzzards, and even larger species of owl, feed on these owls. The most endangered birds of prey are eagle owls and northern goshawks. Other creatures, including as dogs, cats, and foxes, may pose a threat to them, particularly their eggs and chicks. Pine martens have also been reported to steal eggs from their nests.
Tawny Owl Reproduction, Babies, and Lifespan
These owls begin to couple up around the age of one. Although they are reputed to mate for life, this is not always the case. In reality, polygamy has been documented in certain guys. The majority of tawny owls make their nests in tree holes, although they can also exploit abandoned European Magpie nests, holes in structures, and man-made nest boxes.
A female owl can lay anywhere from 3 to 6 eggs during the late spring to early summer nesting season. A female will incubate her eggs for roughly a month while her partner delivers her nourishment. A mated couple will care for their chicks until they are around 2 months old. However, evidence suggests that these owls may care for their babies for up to three months.
Wild tawny owls live for 4 to 6 years, depending on a variety of variables. The oldest known owl was a 27-year-old captive bird in the United Kingdom. The oldest known tawny owl lived 18 years in the wild. There are few factors that might limit their longevity besides falling prey to larger birds of prey. Young owls who have recently been displaced from their parents’ nests often go hungry while attempting to establish their own territory. This is a regular occurrence among young owls that refuse to leave their parents’ territory. They die in car, railroad, and wire accidents if they aren’t killed in other ways.
Tawny Owl Population
The population of these owls may be found all across the world, from the United Kingdom to Iran, and from Europe to Asia. Tawny owls may be found as far west as western Siberia, as well as Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Kyrgyzstan. They are not found on islands or in Ireland in the United Kingdom. There is folklore or rumor that these owls dislike making short maritime journeys, which might explain their dispersal.
There are between 970,000 and 2,000,000 of these owls on the European continent alone. Their number has not been counted on a regular basis over the years, although evidence suggests that it is growing.