Tawny Owl

Scientific name: Strix aluco

Did you know: Tawny Owls are known for their iconic “too-wit too-woo” song, a duet between male and female, not the call of a single bird!

What Do Tawny Owls Look Like? (how to identify them)

Tawny Owls, resembling the size of a Woodpigeon, are easily recognisable by their rounded bodies and heads. Encircling their dark eyes is a distinctive ring of dark feathers. 

In the UK, their upper parts are typically a reddish-brown, contrasting with a paler underside. This species, found extensively in England, Wales, and Scotland, is notable for its territorial nature, with established pairs remaining within their territories year-round.

Differences Between Male And Female Tawny Owls

Male and female Tawny Owls exhibit noticeable differences. The females are generally larger, about 25% heavier and 5% longer than their male counterparts. This size difference is a key factor in identifying the sexes in the wild.

What Do Tawny Owls Eat?

Primarily, Tawny Owls feast on small mammals and rodents. Their diet also includes small birds, frogs, fish, insects, and worms. Their hunting technique is remarkable: they swoop down silently from a perch, thanks to their uniquely adapted wing feathers, and capture their prey, often swallowing it whole.

Where Do Tawny Owls Live? (inc. migration info)

Tawny Owls favour broadleaved woodlands but also adapt to urban and suburban areas. They are non-migratory, highly territorial birds found throughout the UK but absent in Ireland. Their preferred habitats include woodlands and sometimes large rural or suburban gardens.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Tawny Owls)

The Tawny Owl’s call is a part of British cultural heritage, with the male’s territorial hooting call being one of the most recognisable owl sounds in the UK. The typical call sequence involves a duet between the male and female, creating the famous ‘too-wit too-woo’ sound. This duet plays a crucial role in their communication and territorial behaviour.

Fun Tawny Owl Facts (kid-friendly)

  • Tawny Owls can turn their heads through an impressive 270 degrees!
  • They are most active at night, making them nocturnal hunters.
  • A group of Tawny Owls is known as a ‘parliament.’
  • Their super-sensitive hearing is key to locating prey in the dark.
  • Tawny Owls don’t have ear tufts like some other owl species.
  • They can live up to 4 years in the wild.
  • Baby Tawny Owls are called ‘owlets.’
  • These owls are known to reuse old nests from other birds.
  • Tawny Owls can fly silently due to the special design of their feathers.
  • They have a unique way of shaking off rainwater, similar to dogs!

Tawny Owl Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Tawny Owl

Diet: Small mammals and rodents, small birds, frogs, fish, insects and worms.
Bird Family: Owls
Length: 37-39cm
Wingspan: 94-104cm
Weight: 330-590g
Scientific Name: Strix aluco

The Tawny Owl Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December