Medium sized owl with no ear tufts and dark eyes and a stocky appearance. Generally chestnut-brown above with darker mottling and distinctive white or cream spots on upper wing coverts. Below paler with darker streaks and barring. It is the owl of fairy tales
Britain and continental Eurasia. The tawny owl is the most common and widespread owl in Europe and the commonest raptor in Britain. Absent from Ireland (probably because of competition from the long eared owl.)
Mostly deciduous or mixed woods, but also in mature coniferous forests. It will also occupy old trees in hedgerows, copses, parkland and churchyards.
Small mammals, birds, amphibians, worms and beetles, mainly between dusk and dawn.
The pair-bonding is mostly monogamous, courtship begins in late February and between 4-6 eggs are laid in April / May. The eggs hatch after 32-34 days, lengthy fledging period of usually 60-80 days.
The ‘tu-whit, tu woo’ call, reflects a male (who hoots) and a female (whose call is now often rendered ‘keewick’) calling to each other.