Ural Owl

Ural Owl

Summary:

Profile Ural Owl
[order] Strigiformes |

[order] Strigiformes | [family] Strigidae | [latin] Strix uralensis | [UK] Ural Owl | [FR] Chouette de l’Oural | [DE] Habichtskauz | [ES] Cárabo uralense | [IT] Allocco degli Urali | [NL] Oeraluil

Oeraluil determination

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Large, rather long, round-headed, dark-eyed owl, suggesting overgrown Tawny Owl; with long tail, recalls juvenile Goshawk in flight. Plumage rather pale, ochre-grey copiously streaked on back, back of head, and underparts. Facial disc pale ochre-grey, with relatively small dark eyes and indistinct paler divide giving rather vacant, kind expression. Dark bars across flight-feathers obvious.

Breeds in Slovakia at 450-850 m and in Rumania to 1600 m, but in north mainly in lowlands, avoiding extensive dense forests, especially of pure conifers. In summer, hunts in forest glades and fringes of woods; in winter in parks, open areas around human communities as well, including vicinity of villages where rodents and birds collect around threshing floors, and even cities.

Strix uralensis is a widespread resident across much of northern and parts of central Europe, which accounts for less than a quarter of its global range. Its European breeding population is relatively small (Strix uralensis and S. davidi were considered distinct species by Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), König et al. (1999) and Marks et al. (1999) but this treatment is not followed by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group because the split of Strix davidi from S. uralensis is based upon the former’s overall darker plumage and contrasting concentric lines and marked rim to the facial disc, absent in uralensis. They do not, however, differ vocally or in morphometrics. While davidi also differs from fuscescens, geographically the closest race to davidi, in have having larger, paler spots on head and mantle and having a paler ground colour below, it is not clear how great differences are from nikolskii, the race of uralensis closest in appearance to davidi. This treatment is also followed by Cheng Tso-hsin (1987, 1994).

Largely mammals from size of small rodents to water vole, and birds from size of finches to Woodpigeon. Hunting essentially nocturnal; during breeding season, in some cases at least, often occurs also during day. Most hunting done from perch, but probably also uses searching flight. Can take rodents under 20-30 cm of snow.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 110,000-280,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified; there is evidence of population fluctuations, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]


Breeding dependent on population cycles of voles. Egg-laying usually begins March in Scandinavia and western Russia with little variation over rest of range. One brood. Nest is built in hole in tree or stump, nest-box, old nest of other species, especially raptor or crow, also squirrel. Sometimes nests in building, on ground, and on rock face. Clutch size 2-4, varying with food supply, especially numbers of voles.
Eggs are incubatd for 27-29 days, young fledge after about 40 days, but young leave nest before that, at about 30 days or earlier if disturbed.

Mainly resident, even sedentary. Like Tawny Owl, survival linked to possession of exclusive year-round feeding territory, which juveniles acquire in autumn or die. Young birds disperse September-November; thereafter, all age-classes strongly territorial and hence sedentary, even in poor rodent years, though may not breed then.

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Specification

  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 115 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 125 cm
  4. size min.: 55 cm
  5. size max.: 59 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 27 days
  8. incubation max.: 34 days
  9. fledging min.: 0 days
  10. fledging max.: 0 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 2
  13. eggs max.: 4
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Oeraluil status Least Concern

Subspecies

  1. Strix uralensis fuscescens
  2. w and s Honshu (Japan)
  3. Strix uralensis momiyamae
  4. c Honshu (Japan)
  5. Strix uralensis hondoensis
  6. n Honshu (Japan)
  7. Strix uralensis japonica
  8. s Kuril Is., Hokkaido (Japan)
  9. Strix uralensis nikolskii
  10. e Amurland (se Siberia), Sakhalin I., ne China and Korea
  11. Strix uralensis daurica
  12. sc Siberia and ne Mongolia to w and n Amurland (se Siberia) and w and n Manchuria (ne China)
  13. Strix uralensis yenisseensis
  14. c Siberic and ne Siberia to nw Mongolian plateau
  15. Strix uralensis uralensis
  16. e European Russia to w Siberia
  17. Strix uralensis liturata
  18. n Poland and Scandinavia to nw Russia
  19. Strix uralensis macroura
  20. c and se Europe
  21. Strix uralensis
  22. EU widespread
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