The Caucasus Tawny Owl (Strix aluco willkonskii) is a medium-sized nocturnal bird. It is also called the Caucasus Brown Owl or the Willkonskii Tawny Owl.
The Caucasus Tawny Owl has a stocky build with brown or grey upperparts and pale underparts with dark streaks. It has a large, rounded head with a facial disc. It has large dark eyes. It does not have ear tufts. It has rounded wings. The female is larger than the male.
It measures 37-46 centimetres (15-18 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 81-105 centimetres (32-41 inches).
The Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) is native to Europe and Asia. The Caucasus Tawny Owl is native to the Middle East from Palestine to northern Iran, and the Caucasus region in countries such as Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. It prefers woodlands and forests near water. It is mainly a lowland bird, but it may also be found in the lower parts of mountains.
It is residential, and does not migrate. It is territorial, defending its territory from other birds. When the parents finish caring for their chicks, the young birds must find their own territory.
It is nocturnal, active at night. It hunts rodents, such as rats, mice, and squirrels, as well as small birds, rabbits, worms, and beetles. It swoops onto its prey and kills them with its sharp talons and beak. It has excellent vision and hearing. Its predators include larger owls, eagles, buzzards, and foxes
The Caucasus Tawny Owl flies with long glides with few wing beats, and is heavy and slow. Its flight is silent because its feathers are soft.
The Caucasus Tawny Owl forms a monogamous pair for life. It nests in a tree hole. Females lay 2-3 eggs and only the female sits on them until they hatch after 35-39 days. The parents protect the chicks from predators for 2-3 months after they gain their flight feathers.
Their typical lifespan is five years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM