Great eagle owl

(Bubo bubo)


Great eagle owl IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The Eagle Owl is an extremely powerful bird. Length of an adult is about 66-71 cm. It is the largest species of owl with a wingspan of up to 2 m. Adults can weigh up 4 kg. The size, ear tufts and orange eyes make this a very distinctive species. Males and females are similar in appearance and size but the male's ear tufts are more upright than the female's, while hers are usually drooping down.

Did you know?
that Eagle Owls prey on the ground or in full flight? They prefer hunting in open spaces and will eat almost anything that moves. Their diet includes votes, rats, mice, foxes, hares, birds, crows, ducks, grouse, seabirds, snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, crabs, and sometimes even other owls!


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Bubo bubo
Name (English) Great eagle owl
Name (French) Hibou grand-duc, Grand-duc d'Europe
Name (German) Uhu
Name (Spanish) Búho real
Local names Czech: Výr velký
Danish: Stor hornugle
Dutch: Oechoe
Finnish: Huuhkaja
Hungarian: Uhu
Italian: Gufo reale
Norwegian: Hubro
Polish: Puchacz
Portuguese: Bufo-real
Romansh: Piv grond
Swedish: Berguv
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka



Range Asia, Europe, Northern parts of Africa, Middle East
Habitat Rocky landscapes are often favoured. They are found in river valleys, ravines, quarries etc. also open forest, Taiga, steppe and semi desert. They like to nest on cliff ledges and rock crevices and sometimes they take over nests that have been abandoned by other large birds.
Wild population 250,000-2,500,000 individuals (Red list IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 557 reported to ISIS (2007). This species is frequently keept in zoos and breeds well.

In the Zoo

Great eagle owl


How this animal should be transported

Owls travel best in completely dark boxes. Boxes should be slightly longer than the head to tail length of the bird intended to travel, and wide and high enough for the bird to be able to stand or lie down in comfort without banging its shoulders or head. A well made wooden box with no perches is required, with carpet or some other non slip surface fixed on the floor and a padded ceiling, with air-holes on either side. The easiest type of door to use is an upward sliding door at one end. The door can then be slid up a small amount; the bird visualised before being grasped by the legs, carefully, through the small opening before sliding the door fully open for removal. A handle fixed to the top of the box makes carrying easier.

For air transport, Container Note 20 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
J Patrick Fischer

Why do zoos keep this animal

The great eagle owl is not a globally threatened species and is usually kept by zoos for educational reasons, including, in a number of zoos, flight demonstrrations. In regions where the populations had been depleted, e.g. in Central Europe, zoos participated also in reintroduction or reinforcement projects. In Switzerland, the four WAZA institutions supplied at least 50 great eagle owls to successful reinformcement projects.