Tawny Owl


Tawny Owl

Scientific Name

Strix aluco


Tawny Owls are the most common native owl in the UK and are highly territorial of their home range, which is usually 30-50 acres. These nocturnal birds are often seen before they are heard.

Its flight includes long glides on rounded wings, with fewer wingbeats, and at a greater height than other Eurasian owls. It will hunt by suddenly dropping from a perch onto its prey, which they usually swallow whole.

Their typical lifespan is 5 years in the wild, with breeding taking place in their second year. Tawny Owls tend to mate for life and lay only one clutch of 2-3 eggs per year, in late winter or early spring. Young tawny owls will often sit near the nest on branches before officially leaving the nest during a ‘branching phase’, and will still be dependent on their parents for food for up to 3 months after leaving the nest. They will nest in a variety of places including old crow and pigeon nests, or squirrel drays, but they prefer cavities in dead trees and hollow tree trunks. Unlike barn owls, it is rare to find them roosting or nesting in buildings.


They mainly eat small mammals, specifically wood mice, bank voles and field voles. However, they have also been recorded eating rabbits, moles, small birds, invertebrates, frogs and fish.

Fun Fact

They are the only owl in the world to make the ‘twit twoo’ sound! The female ‘twits’ and the male responds with the ‘twoo’ sound. They have been recorded eating carrion (dead animals) in times of hardship.

IUCN Red list

Least Concern

Where do I live?

They are found throughout Europe and North Africa.

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