Eurasian Eagle-owl - Bubo bubo


The scientific name for the Eurasian Eagle-owl is onomatopeic in origin: bubo comes from the Greek buas (owl) and from the Latin bubo (owl, screech owl, eagle-owl), as is its German name Uhu which is pronounced “ouou”, and the Dutch Oehoe. The French and English name Eagle-owl refers to its impressive size and its strength, a reference also found in Spanish and Italian with the term “royal”. The Eagle-owl is in fact the largest of the nocturnal raptors and for this reason it has very few natural enemies. Nevertheless, it remains unobtrusive in the daytime and may adopt a concealing posture to avoid any risk of harrasment from diurnal raptors or members of the Corvidae family. Although Eagle-owls are tolerant of each other, they can be agressive towards diurnal raptors and other nocturnal raptors. Eagle-owls are active at dusk and during the night.

There are many sub-species distributed around the world.

First chick hatched at Le Rocher des Aigles: Archimedes born on 1st March, 1990


CLASS : Aves
ORDER : Strigiformes
FAMILY : Strigidae
WINGSPAN : 1.6 – 1.9 m
WEIGHT : Male 1.5-2.8 kg / Female 1.7-4.2 kg
CLUTCH SIZE : 2-4 eggs
INCUBATION : 34-36 days
LIFE EXPECTANCY : 25 years in the wild (Record: 68 years in captivity)
DIET : very varied – it is opportunistic, meaning it eats the predominant species on its territory. It feeds on medium-sized mammals (fox cubs, hares) or smaller mammals (voles, rats, hedgehogs), birds, fish and sometimes snakes.
NATURAL HABITAT : il lives in vastly different environments, ranging from wooded steppes to sandy deserts. It is fond of inaccessible rocky areas (cliffs, steep mountain slopes, caves) especially during the breeding season.
RANGE : Europe, Asia, North Africa, Near East

Conservation status

Conservation status info

Rocher des Aigles

LC : Least Concern

The Eurasian Eagle-owl has undergone a significant decline due to human persecution: hunting, especially hunting from a hide (the Eagle-owl was attached to a post to attract the other birds) and the removal of eggs and chicks from nests. Although the numbers of Eurasian Eagle-owls have increased in recent decades, particularly thanks to the protective measures taken (reintroduction programmes, safeguarding measures, in France it has been legally protected since 1972), it cannot be regarded as strictly out of danger as its population is decreasing. It is still threatened directly by persecution and indirectly by human activity, such as electrocution on high- and medium-voltage power lines, cable car cables, road and rail traffic, the use of poisons, intensive farming, transformation of its habitat and a reduction in food sources.