[order] STRIGIFORMES | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Bubo lacteus | [authority] Temminck, 1820 | [UK] Verreauxs Eagle-Owl | [FR] Grand duc pale | [DE] Blassuhu | [ES] Buho Lechoso | [NL] Verreaux Oehoe
Members of the genus Bubo are the largest of the owls. Heavily built with powerful talons they are recognisable by their size, their prominent ear-tufts, and their eyes that vary in colour from yellow to brown but are frequently vivid orange. The genus, including the Asian fish owls of the genus Ketupa – now believed to be part of Bubo – comprises of 20 species ranging Eurasia, Indonesia, Africa and the Americas. DNA evidence suggests that the Snowy Owls of Nyctea and the fish owls of Scotopelia are also candidates for inclusion in this genus.
Verreaux’s Eagle-owl ranges from 66-75 cm in length. This species can attain a wingspan 2 m and weighs from 1600 to 3115 gram. In appearance, they are distinguished by a whitish oval disk face with a black border, pink eyelids, orange eyes and two feather tufts on their ears. Their feathers are dark brown on top and light grey below.
Listen to the sound of Verreauxs Eagle-Owl
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
Africa : widespread. Sub-Saharan Africa, absent from Namibian desert and tropical rainforest.
Dry savannah with scattered trees, riverine forest, semi-open woodland.
Breeding takes place from March to September. The female lays two eggs and incubates them for thirty-eight days. She remains on the nest for the entire incubation period while the male hunts for food for both of them. The first egg to hatch is the first to be fed, and if food is not plentiful only the first one hatched will be fed. If food is abundant, both owlets will be fed. The chicks are ready to leave the nest at nine weeks but may remain with the parents for up to three months.
They hunt in early evening. Full-grown owls feed on hares, mongoose and many other small game animals. They are one of the very few birds to feed on hedgehogs. Near cities their prey include rats and pigeons.
Video Verreauxs Eagle-Owl
copyright: Josep del Hoyo
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.