Great Horned

Largest and fiercest of the American owls, with large ear tufts and a finely barred breast, this species occurs in a range of habitats from rocky desert to broadleaved and coniferous forest. Usually hunting by night, it watches from a perch before swooping silently on its prey. It takes any prey from insect size to hares, geese, and turkeys. Its call is a series of deep, soft hoots.

• NEST An old nest of a large-bird of prey, in a tree or on a cliff.

• Distribution The Americas.

• REMARK Color phases (/>■ /.*) from dark to pale.

Plumage Sexes a|ikc ftt ft«

Migration Non-migrant

Family g-j-

Length 28 in (70 cm)

mottled plunuige

nisTRim ri< in

Eurasian Eagle-Owl rl, pupils reduced

1 his powerfully built bird is the largest of the world s owls. It has ;// da\Hg/n prominent ear tufts and a boldly streaked breast. Most of the rest of the plumage, too, is mottled, giving camouflage when resting. The Eurasian Eagle-Owl is found in most types of country, although it favors rocky outcrops and forests. In parts of its range it is active by day as well as night. It relies on sharp sight when hunting, taking a range of prey from insects to hares, foxes, ducks, and large gamebirds. The call is a deep hoot.

• NEST A hollow Oil a rock ledge or in a cave, or an old nest of an eagle or buzzard (seepp. 97-99).

• Distribution Much of Europe, cast to Siberia and south to India and China.

• REMARK There is considerable variety of color, with phases and local subspecies

(seep. I.I) ranging from dark to light.

mottled plunuige

Gray St -«species nisTRim ri< in

Family Strioii


Ketupa tela pu

bare legs of a fish catcher

Looking like an eagle-owl (seep. 197) in its general appearancc, this is one of the fish-owls, in which a number of features are suited to their specialized diet. The legs arc bare, the soles of the feet have sharp-edged, spiky scales, and the claws are long and curved for snatching fish from water. Fish-owls lack the silent flight of other owls, whose feathers have a fine surface layer of downy strands and a downy edge that muffle the sound of the flying bird. The wings of fish-owls make a slight noise in flight, presumably without impairing fishing ability. The Buffy Fish-Owl occurs in pairs alongside rivers, roosting in the thick foliage of trees beside water. I hinting at night, it watches from a bare branch and swoops to snatch fish from the water surface, also taking crabs, crayfish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and some-large insects. It has a soft, musical, two-note, hooting call.

• NEST An unlincd cavity in a large tree, or an old nest of another large tree-nesting bird.

• Distribution

S.E. Asia from Burma and distkiiuition " Borneo to Java.

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