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Tawny Owl Scientific name: Strix alucoLength: 37-43 cm
Status: Resident breeding species Wingspan: 95-104 cm
Breeding pairs: 50,000Weight: 440-580 g
Wintering birds:
Conservation status: Green

Description: Tawny owls are medium sized owls with a stocky body and large round head. Both sexes look similar although the female is slightly larger. Their plumage ranges from reddish-brown to grey-brown with mottled brown upperparts. Their faces are paler with darker concentric rings and they have pale yellow bills and grey toes.

Juvenile tawny owls are paler with shaggy, loose plumage

Nesting: Tawny owls will nest in a natural whole in a tree or the old nests of crows, magpies or other birds of prey.

They lay 2-6 pure white, smooth glossy eggs which are incubated for 28-30 days by the female alone. Fledging occurs at 28-35 days and the chicks are dependent on their parents for food for up to 3 months before they leave the nest.

Feeding: Tawny owls hunt for small mammals, such as shrews, rodents, young rabbits and small birds as well as fish, insects and amphibians and reptiles.

They are mainly nocturnal although will occasionally hunt during the day.

Where to see them: Tawny owls can be seen all year round across England, Wales and Scotland. They are not found in Ireland or some of the Scottish islands as they do not like flying over water.
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Credit: Ilkka Heiskanen

Did you know? Pioneering wildlife photographer Eric Hosking lost an eye to a tawny owl and his subsequent biography was called, rather fittingly, An Eye For A Bird.


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