Tawny Owl, Strix aluco

The Tawny Owl is a nocturnal bird of prey, which hunts mainly rodents. In many parts of America it is also called Barn Owl. It can have either brown or grey plumage colour, which enables it to camouflage with the surrounding trees. Its eyes are big and black. The Tawny Owl is territorial and hunts on rats, shrews, birds and batrachians.

Main characteristics

The Tawny Owl is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa; in central and northern America it shares range with the Striped Owl, in Paraguay, Argentina and Chile with the Rufous-legged Owl. This species is found in deciduous and mixed forests. Bigger sized species prefer mixed forest and mature conifer plantations. The Tawny Owl nests in tree holes. It is fearless in defence of its nest and young.

Scientific classification

The Tawny Owl is a member of the wood-owl genus Strix, part of the typical owl family Strigidae, which belongs to the order Strigiformes. The Tawny Owl’s scientific name is Strix aluco; the Striped Owl’s scientific name is Strix varia and the Rufous-legged Owl’s Strix rufipes.

Tawny Owl, Strix alucoCarabo comun

How are they? The Tawny Owl is a big owl with black eyes. It reaches 37–39cm in length with 1,04m wingspan. The species is sexually dimorphic; the female is much larger than the male. Its wings are short and wide. The plumage colour varies considerably, usually within wood colours. The Tawny Owls of the Iberian Peninsula have reddish or grey plumage colours.
Where do they live? In open areas as well as forests and urban areas.
How is the species geographically distributed? Europe, Asia and North Africa. From the British Islands to China.
What do they feed on? Small mammals and birds.