A widespread and common medium-sized owl found in European woodland - and through much of China. Most are rather grey brown but there are some which are definitely rufous.
This is the owl that traditionally calls 'twit twoohoo' but it has lots of other calls too. As with many owls it eats mainly small mammals and the breeding success of the birds depends on the mammal populations. In bad years many pairs will raise only one or two - or even no - young but broods may reach five or six. The adults are long lived and very sedentary. They get to know their territories very well and choose to sit out poor years and use their local knowledge later when the mammal populations recover. There may be as many as 40,000 pairs breeding in Britain - but none in Ireland.
A brown owl living in woodland.
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Tawny Owl (35mm Colour Slide by Roger Tidman)
Length 380 mm Closed wing 270 mm Weight 480 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead