The Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) is a member of the typical owl family, Strigidae. It is a resident species to much of Europe and southern Russia. It is usually found in deciduous and mixed forests and usually nests in holes in trees. Smaller woodland owls cannot usually co-exist with the stronger Tawny, and are found in different habitats.
This is a medium-sized earless owl, 14.5 to 17 inches in length with a 32 to 38 inch wingspan. It is stocky with a large rounded head and rounded wings. It occurs in two color phases, reddish-brown and grayish-brown. The pale under parts are streaked with brown and the facial disc is rather plain. The eyes are black.
The Tawny Owl is believed to have the best developed eyes of all owls. Its retina has about 56,000 light-sensitive rods per square millimeter, enabling it to pick out prey several meters away by the light of one candle over 500 meters away. In low-level light conditions, this is about 100 times better than the eyes of humans.
This species probably injures more people than any other European bird. It is fearless in defense of its nest and young, and strikes for the intruders face with its sharp talons. Since its flight is silent, at night in particular it may not be detected until too late.