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Spotted Eagle-Owl - BirdForum Opus

Bubo africanus
Photo © by bobthebirder
Franschhoek, South Africa, 7 November 2013.


45 cm. (18")
Off white to pale orche facial disk, yellow eyes, prominent ear tufts, and the upper body is dusky brown, the lower parts off-white with brown bars. Both gray and a rare rufous morphs occur.

Similar Species

Cape Eagle-Owl is larger with much larger feet and orange, not yellow eyes and more penetrating calls.


Africa south of the Sahara desert.


Prior to 1999 the Spotted Eagle-owl was considered conspecific with the Vermiculated Eagle-owl, but now it is classed as a separate species. Arabian Eagle-Owl formerly was included in Spotted Eagle-Owl.

Bubo africanus has two recognized subspecies:[1]

  • B. a. africanus
  • B. a. tanae
  • South-eastern Kenya (central and lower Tana River and Lali Hills)


Rocky outcrops, scrub land, open woods, and semi deserts.



The diet includes small mammals, birds, insects and reptiles.


Their nest is made on the ground though they have been known to nest on window ledges of buildings. Breeding begins in July continuing to the first weeks of February. 2-4 eggs area laid and incubated by the female for about 32 days. The female leaves the nest only to eat what the male has brought food. The young owls can fly at around seven weeks of age. Five weeks later, the young owls leave the nest.


Hooting "hu-hoo" similar to Cape Eagle-Owl but softer and less penetrating.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Dickinson, EC, ed. 2014. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 4th ed. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0956861122
  3. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533
  4. Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P., Wood, K.L. & Marks, J.S. (2018). Spotted Eagle-owl (Bubo africanus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/55012 on 22 June 2018).
  5. Sinclair, I and P Ryan. 2003. Birds of Africa South of the Sahara. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691118154

Recommended Citation

External Links

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