Eurasian Eagle Owl

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Eurasian eagle owls have exceptional vision.

Eurasian eagle owls are easily recognizable with their large, round heads and forward-directed, immovable eyes. Eurasian eagle owls are far-sighted because of the scleral ring—the ring that holds the eyeball into place, preventing movement of the eye within the socket. It keeps their vision as sharp as possible, helping them to see very well at night. They have excellent day vision; although, they often squint in bright sunlight.

All Eurasian eagle owls have a third eyelid. This translucent third eyelid moves horizontally across the eye, from the inner corner of the eye to the outer corner. It is especially useful when they are catching prey as they can see still see even while keeping their eyes safe from injury.

Eurasian eagle owls fly quietly—but not so their prey can’t hear them.

All Eurasian eagle owls have well-formed facial discs, or a collection of feathers on the face, which collect sound waves and direct those waves towards the their ears. Eurasian eagle owls hunt in nearly total darkness and fly silently, with softened edges on the feathers, so they can hear the movements of their prey. There is a common misunderstanding that Eurasian eagle owls do not want the prey to hear them.

Eurasian eagle owls use their hooting calls to keep track of their family in the dark. They have quite a repertoire of hoots and growls, chirps and clicks, and beak-clacks with which they communicate. When hunting, however, they are usually silent.

Eurasian eagle owls never build their own nests.

Eurasian eagle owls do not build their own nest but rather appropriate a large stick nest from a raptor or corvid or use debris platforms in trees or on cliffs. If an Eurasian eagle owl can find a cavity in a tree, that is the site of choice.

Animal Facts

  • Lifespan Eurasian eagle owls may live more than 60 years under human care. In the wild, about 20 years is the maximum.
  • Habitat Eurasian eagle owls occupy a variety of habitats, from forests to warm deserts. Rocky landscapes, however, are often favored. They are found in Europe, northern Asia, and the Middle East.
  • Diet Eurasian eagle owls eat rodents and other small mammals; supplemental food is anything it can catch, including carrion.
  • Size Males up to 4.5-5 pounds and females up to 5.5-7 pounds. They grow up to 27 inches long and have a wingspan of approximately 66 inches (or 5.5 feet).
  • Location in Zoo Winged Wonders Bird Show
  • Conservation Status Eurasian eagle owls are listed as Least Concern.

Did You Know?

As an apex predator, the Eurasian eagle owl has no natural predators.