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Conservation status: Amber

The tawny owl is an owl the size of a pigeon. It has a rounded body and head, with a ring of dark feathers around its face surrounding the dark eyes. It is mainly reddish brown above and paler underneath. It is a widespread breeding species in England, Wales and Scotland but not found in Ireland. Birds are mainly residents with established pairs probably never leaving their territories. Young birds disperse from breeding grounds in autumn.



Latin name

Strix aluco


Owls (Strigidae)

Where to see them

The tawny owl is nocturnal so it is often heard calling at night, but much less often seen. In the daytime, you may see one only if you disturb it inadvertently from its roost site in woodland up against a tree trunk or among ivy. Look for pellets below roosting places.

When to see them

All year round.

What they eat

Small mammals and rodents, small birds, frogs, fish, insects and worms.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-50,000 pairs--




Christoph Bock, Xeno-canto

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