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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Hawk Owl

Surnia ulula

  • Name also: Northern Hawk-owl
  • Family: Owls – Strigidae
  • Appearance: Middle-sized, long-tailed owls with black and white markings and bright yellow eyes. Can be distinguished from Tengmalm’s Owl by larger size, longer tail, and pale patch between shoulder edges of wings.
  • Size: Length 35–43 cm, wingspan 69–82 cm, weight 215–380 g.
  • Nest: In holes in hollow trees.
  • Breeding: Lays 4–11 eggs in March–April. Only females incubate, for 25–30 days. Young able to fly within 25-30 days.
  • Distribution: Nests in well-lit forests in Northern Finland and some parts of Central Finland, but only rarely in the south. Finnish breeding population estimated at 2,000–6,000 pairs. Remains active during the day, unlike most other owls.
  • Migration: Sedentary, but may range further south into the Baltic countries and the southern coasts of the Baltic Sea. Most likely to be found outside breeding areas August–October and April–May.
  • Diet: Small mammals.
  • Calls: A series of soft babbling calls.

Hawk Owls are middle-sized, long-tailed owls with striking black and white markings. Their pale faces are bordered with black edges, including eyebrow-like markings which over their bright yellow eyes give them a piercing gaze. In flight they may resemble a large-headed Sparrowhawk. They can be distinguished from Tengmalm’s Owls by their larger size, longer tails, and a pale patch across the top of their breast. Their legs have blackish-brown claws and are covered with feathers. Their beaks are yellow.

Other species from the same family

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