Indian Eagle Owl - Bubo bengalensis
Also known as Rock Eagle Owl, Bengal Eagle Owl
Calls - Bubo bengalensis
[For help with terms used in the description, see parts of an owl. For general characteristics common to most owl species, see owl physiology.]
Description: Dark and light morphs of
this bird occur.
The facial disc is fulvous-brown to buffy, with a prominent blackish rim. The
eyebrows start out whitish at the centre of the face, and change to a
blackish line at a point just above the centre of each eye, and then continue
up to the dark ear tufts. the Forehead is buffy brown, with small blackish
flecks, which become greater in number towards the crown, giving it a dark appearance.
Eyes are Orange-yellow to orange-red, and the bill greenish-horn to
slate-black. The Chin and throat are white.
Upperparts are tawny brown, mottled and streaked with blackish brown. There is
often a whitish bar across the shoulder.
Wing and Tail feathers are tawny-buff, barred with blackish brown.
Lower parts are fulvous, becoming whitish near the centre. The upper breast has
small, dark streaks, with the rest of the underparts having fine streaks and
faint cross-bars, which become fainter towards the abdomen.
Legs and toes are feathered fulvous, with the outer joints of the toes being
bare, and a greenish-slate colour. The claws are dusky black.
Size: Length 50-56 cm (19.7-22").
Wing length males 364-390mm (14.3-15.4"), females 375-425mm
Weight 1100g (38.8oz) (weight of one male specimen).
Habits: Generally nocturnal. Flies with slow, deliberate wingbeats interspersed with long bouts of gliding on outstreached wings. Usually flies close to the ground. When defending young, adults often resort to diversionary tactics, such as feigning wing injury.
Voice: Male has a deep,
resonant, double hoot bu-whooh, repeated at intervals of several
seconds. The female's song is similar, with a slightly higher pitch. At the
nest both sexes with may make a clucking noise, or a series of huwoo-huwoo
sounds - again, the female is slightly higher in pitch.
Hunting & Food: Bengal Eagle
Owls usually hunt from a perch, but will also make low foraging flights to
dive on prey. They primarily hunt rats and mice, but will also take birds up
to the size of peafowl. They will also eat reptiles, frogs, crabs and large
Pellets are up to 150 x 40mm (5.9 x 1.6")
Breeding: Similar to Eurasian Eagle Owl.
Generally, these Owls will breed from February to April, but this may vary locally
between October and May.
The nest is usually a shallow scrape on bare earth. This may be on a protected
rock ledge, river bank, or a recess in a cliff that is in a ravine. They have
also been known to nest on the ground under a bush, or between rocks on a
2-4 white eggs are laid, averaging 53.6 x 43.8mm (2.1 x 1.7"). They are
incubated by the female for 35 days.
Mortality: Uncertain, probably similar
to Eurasian Eagle Owl
Habitat: Rocky Hills with bushes,
earth banks, wooded county with ravines, semi-deserts with rocks and bushes.
They have been known to inhabit old Mango orchards close to human populations.
Distribution: West Himalayas,
Pakistan, throughout India, Kashmir, Nepal, Assam and Burma.
Distribution of the Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis
Status: Uncertain, not uncommon in suitable habitats
Original Description: Franklin, James. 1831. Proceedings of the Committee of Science and Correspondence of the Zoological Society of London (PZS): Pt. 1, no. 10, p 115.
Page compiled by Deane Lewis. Page last updated 2013-05-29
OwlPages.com Owl Species ID: 090.040.000