Verreaux’s Eagle Owl
Verreaux’s Eagle Owl (Bubo lacteus) is a member of the owl order Strigidae. They are found in Sub-Saharan Africa typically along forest streams and rivers seldom above 6500 feet. They are nocturnal and roost in tall trees.
They are one of the largest owls in the world. Their length is 26 to 28 inches. The wingspan is up to 6 and a half feet and they average about nine pounds. They have a whitish oval disc face with a black border, pink eyelids, orange eyes and two feather tufts on their ears. Their feathers are dark brown on top and light gray below.
Breeding takes place from March to September. The female lays two eggs and incubates them for thirty-eight days. She remains on the nest the entire time while the male hunts for food for both of them. If food is non-abundant, only the first bird to hatch will be fed and the other left for dead. The chicks leave the nest at nine weeks but may remain with the parents for up to three months.
Verreaux’s Eagle Owl feeds on hares, mongoose and many other small game animals. They are also one of the few birds that will feed on hedgehogs. Near cities they will prey on rats and pigeons as well.