230 (Eurasian) Eagle Owl
(Bubo bubo)


59-73cm. Largest owl, strong build enhanced by dense, ‘fluffy’ plumage; large-headed. When relaxed can appear barrel-shaped, when alert may display surprisingly long (but thick) neck. Ear-tufts long, visible except in flight, held flattish when relaxed or anxious, more erect when calling or disturbed. Flight powerful and steady, wingbeats rather shallow, glides straight, recalling large buzzard (but head of course huge, and wings more arched when gliding). Eyes orange-red, large. Main colour below yellowish-brown with dark streaks, broad on breast. Upperparts darker brown, boldly streaked and vermiculated blackish. Throat white, exposed when calling. In flight, primary bases only slightly paler (yellowish-brown) than rest, boldly and evenly cross-barred.


The Eagle Owl is a rare breeder on cliffs and in quarries at high elevations. May also nest on the ground and on trees in abandoned twig nests of raptors or herons. The population is slowly increasing as a result of conversation efforts. Resident, appears as a rare vagrant in the Great Plain as well.

230 (Eurasian) Eagle Owl pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008