Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) - wiki
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[Photo] Brown individual, probably of Strix aluco aluco. English: A tawny owl (Strix aluco). (Fran??ais : Une chouette hulotte, Strix aluco). Date 2006-05-03. Author K.-M. Hansche
The Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) is a species of owl resident in much of Europe and southern Russia. This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl.
It is a medium-sized earless owl, 37???43 cm in length with an 81???96 cm wingspan. The Tawny Owl is stocky with a large rounded head and rounded wings. It occurs in two colour phases, rufous brown and greyish brown, with all intermediate forms. The pale underparts are streaked with brown and the facial disc is rather plain. The eyes are dark brown. The Tawny Owl has a strong direct flight.
Calls vary a great deal, but the classic and most often heard territorial calls are the quavering hoo ... pause ... hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo by the male and the kew-wick of the female. Famously, the call tu-whit tu-whoo was immortalised by William Shakespeare in Act 5, Scene 2 of Love's Labour's Lost. However, this call is given only by two communicating owls of different gender. The female owl emits the "tu-whit", while the male owl broadcasts the "tu-whoo".
The Tawny Owl has extremely capable eyes. Its retina has about 56,000 light-sensitive rods per square millimetre, enabling it to pick out prey several metres away by the light of one candle over 500 metres away. In low-level light conditions, this is about 100 times better than the eyes of humans.
The Tawny Owl is found in deciduous and mixed forests and usually nests in holes in trees. Smaller woodland owls such as the Little Owl and the Long-eared Owl cannot usually co-exist with the stronger Tawny, and are found in different habitats. This species is capable of killing prey such as Brown Rats. It is largely nocturnal and very sedentary.
Hume's Owl, Strix butleri was formerly sometimes considered to be a subspecies of Tawny Owl, but is now classed as a separate species. The numerous recognised Tawny Owl subspecies are best told apart on basis of geography, but such identifications are often not completely certain; the range limits of many of the European and West Asian subspecies are not well-known. Several proposed subspecies such as claceyi, volhyniae, and obscurata are today not considered valid by most authorities.
The Early???Middle Pleistocene Strix intermedia is sometimes considered a paleosubspecies of the Tawny Owl. In this case, it would be the immediate ancestor of S. a. aluco.
People and Tawny Owls
This species probably injures more people than any other European bird. It is fearless in defence of its nest and young, and strikes for the intruder's face with its sharp talons. Since its flight is silent, at night in particular it may not be detected until too late.
The renowned bird photographer Eric Hosking lost an eye to a Tawny Owl he was photographing. He went on to call his autobiography An Eye for a Bird.
|The text in this page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article shown in above URL. It is used under the GNU Free Documentation License. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the GFDL.|