Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)

Tawny Owl Bird Information & Facts

The tawny owl is one of the most common owls in Europe, and remains in its breeding grounds even during severe winters.

A Tawny Owl perched on a wooden stump.

Length: 38 cm.
Wingspan: 92 to 94 cm. The male and female have like plumage, which shows marked variation in coloration.
Voice: During the courting season ‘hoo-hoo-hoo, ‘oo-oo-oo-oo’, sometimes also ‘ke-wick’.
Size of Egg: 43.0—51.7 X 34.4——43.3 mm. The eggs are pure white.

Tawny owl Habitat

A denizen of woods, it is found also in parks with old trees and sometimes in a large garden. In mild winters it often nests as early as February, otherwise usually in April. Even before this one can hear it hooting, and the odd sounds caused by the slapping of the wing quills against each other.


The nest is usually located in a tree cavity, though the tawny owl will also occupy a large man-made nesting box. Occasionally it will take over an abandoned raptor’s nest and has also been known to make its nest in a hollow in the ground, though this is exceptional.


The female incubates the 3 to 5 eggs for 28 to 30 days by herself, the male bringing her food during this period and occasionally relieving her on the nest. Since the hen tawny owl begins incubating as soon as the first eggs are laid, the young hatch successively. For about 10 days after the first nestlings have hatched the hen does not leave the nest.

A Tawny Owl perched on a wooden stump.

The male tawny owl supplies the whole family with food, mainly small mammals, but also other vertebrates such as bats, reptiles, amphibians as well as insects. Later the hen assists in hunting, but keeps an eye on the nest during the daytime. Sometimes she feeds the young in the daylight hours, supplying them from stores gathered during the night.

At the age of 28 to 36 days the young leave the nest, remaining in its vicinity and continuing to be fed by the parents. When they are 50 days old they launch out on their first flight.

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