Eurasian Eagle Owl
Fraser and Montgomery have been raised at the park since they were chicks, and were troublemakers from the start! They love to untie keeper’s shoe laces and surf on flexible branches on windy days!
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They are mainly found in wooded areas, but also grasslands and deserts across Europe and Asia.
Everything about these owls is large. Whether it is their powerful talons – ideal for catching their prey, their wingspan of almost 2m (the largest of all owls), or even their ear tufts, which are used for communication and camouflage. They have big, bright orange coloured eyes with enhanced depth perception, but they cannot move these eyes. Instead, they have flexible necks which can rotate their head 270° in any direction.
These birds of prey eat a range of prey including rabbits, small deer, reptiles, other birds of prey, smaller mammals, fish, foxes, insects – they basically eat anything they can that moves. They will cough up owl pellets after eating, which is the parts of the food they cannot digest, such as feathers, bones, and hair.
20 years in the wild or up to 60 in human care.
These apex predators are highly skilled hunters, being able to take on prey during full flight, or even take to the ground to hunt. They are also very territorial and will make an array of sounds to communicate their territorial claims and to search for a mate.
Eagle owls partner for life, and pair up to find and construct a nest in rocky crevices, sheltered cliff edges, or abandoned golden eagle nests. When food is plentiful, they will mate, and the female will then incubate the eggs for 31-36 days. The female will always stay with the nest and chicks whilst the male hunts for food to bring back and feed both his mate and fast-growing chicks. A chick will imprint on the mother, imitating and learning their identity as well as behaviours from her, such as how to feed independently.
Eagle owls have distinct individual vocalisations. Every member of this owl’s population can be reliably identified by voice alone!