Fun Spotted Eagle-owl Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Spotted Eagle-owl Facts For Kids

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The spotted eagle-owl (Bubo africanus) is known by many different names like the African spotted eagle-owl and the African eagle-owl. The spotted eagle-owl is a species of owl found in Africa. The species is mostly seen in rocky desert outcrops, woodlands, and savannah habitats. The distribution of the species is also quite widespread. Their habitat also includes dry forests, grasslands, shrublands, and semi-deserts.

The identification of spotted eagle-owls can be done by the presence of prominent ear tufts over the head. The facial disk of this owl is pale ochre to off-white in color. There are two variations in the plumage of the bird, gray and brown. White spots are also seen, and males and females have the same plumage. If we compare this spotted owl with another species of eagle-owl, the Cape eagle-owl is more rufous-brown while the spotted eagle-owl is grayish in color. The African spotted eagle-owl is known to catch prey both in the air and on the ground. These birds also nest on the ground and sometimes are also found nesting on man-made structures. The nest is usually made in the shape of a shallow scrape between rocks on the ground during the breeding season. These owls have a pretty quick maturing age as young owls can fly after only eight weeks of hatching. However, parental care is still received for a further five weeks.

These owls are found widespread in their known habitats of Africa, but sometimes they are killed by accident, caught in barbed wire, and killed by predators. Saving this species of owls should be a priority as owls are known to keep the balance in the ecology and are very important for the earth in the long run.

For more relatable content, check out these facts about the crowned eagle and barn owl.

Fun Spotted Eagle-owl Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Insects, birds, reptiles, rodents, and small mammals

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

2-4 eggs

How much do they weigh?

1-2 lb (453.5-907.1 g)

How long are they?

Up to 18 in (45.7 cm)

How tall are they?

Wingspan: 39-55 in (99-139.7 cm)Height: 16.9-19.7 in (43-50 cm)‍

What do they look like?

Gray, brown, prominent ear tufts, yellow eyes, and dusky brown upperparts

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Habitat Loss, Hunting, Predators

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Open And Semi-open Woodland With Shrubs And Bushes


Southern Africa, Sub-saharan Africa, And The Arabian Peninsula









Spotted Eagle-Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a spotted eagle-owl?

The spotted eagle-owl is a medium-sized owl species found in southern Africa. This species is one of the smallest ones in the eagle-owl family.

What class of animal does a spotted eagle-owl belong to?

The African spotted eagle-owl (Bubo africanus) falls under the class of Aves in the kingdom of Animalia. These owls are part of the family Strigidae. The African spotted eagle-owl was earlier thought to be a grayish eagle-owl, however, in 1999, it was given the status as a separate species of owls.

How many spotted eagle-owls are there in the world?

The population of the African spotted eagle-owl is not known. However, seeing their status of Least Concern given by the IUCN, the numbers are quite stable for these owls currently in Africa.

The Eurasian eagle-owl, another type of eagle-owl, has a population of 250,000-2.5 million owls spread across their range of distribution.

Where does a spotted eagle-owl live?

These owls have a healthy population throughout Africa. The African spotted eagle-owl is found throughout southern Africa where it is considered the most common large owl. These birds are found widespread across Sub-Saharan Africa and these owls are also present in some parts of the southwest of the Arabian peninsula. In the outskirts of Harare in Zimbabwe, these spotted owls are seen in thorn savanna and in suburban gardens.

The Sub-Saharan African distribution of these owls consists of Kenya, Uganda, and the Western Cape in South Africa. These birds are also seen in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Yemen.

What is a spotted eagle-owl's habitat?

The habitat of spotted eagle-owls consists of open or semi-open woodland with shrubs and bushes, rocky hillsides, and savanna with thorny shrubs and scattered trees. They are found mostly in areas with sparse ground cover. Rocky areas need to have abundant trees and bushes. These birds are also found in semi-deserts, but they are not found in dense forests and dry areas.

The bird is found breeding and making the nest in large gardens too. Spotted eagle-owls have now adapted to humans and are often found living in cities and towns. They even nest in buildings. The nest has been found on window ledges, window boxes, and in owl boxes. Streetlights and poles are also used for their nests.

Who do spotted eagle-owls live with?

Owls are known to live solitary lives. Before breeding, the bird starts finding mates. Only in some cases, flocks are formed with members of the same species. The male bird is more enthusiastic about finding a mate. There is no data on the company of spotted eagle-owls.

How long does a spotted eagle-owl live?

In captivity, this species is known to live for the maximum age of 20 years. In the wild, due to various reasons, the age is limited to 10 years.

How do they reproduce?

This is a monogamous species and the male and female form a pair only once throughout their life span. Only if a member of the pair dies, the other one finds another mate. Nesting is done by making a nest in tree branches, tree holes, tree trunks, and on the ground. The nesting sites are usually kept away from the nest of other owls. The nest is placed between rocks, in shrubs, cliff ledges, quarries, banks of rivers, haystacks, and abandoned burrows of other birds and animals.

The female lays two to four white eggs in a span of one to four days. The eggs are laid in the summer months in the breeding season. The female alone incubates the eggs for around eight weeks. During this period, the male species provide food to the female. The young are born blind and open their eyes a week later. When they are two weeks old, their gray eyes become yellow in color. The young leave the nest after four to six weeks and learn to fly by seven weeks. The parents still care for the young for the next five weeks after fledging.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the spotted eagle-owl (Bubo africanus) is categorized as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. The species is affected by nest predation by bigger species, hunting by humans, prey of animals, bush fires, road accidents, and getting its body tangled in the barbed wire fences.

These birds are found hunting near roads which has led to a lot of accidents. Also, the use of pesticides in agricultural fields and chemicals for the control of rodents and insects have affected the lives of the spotted eagle-owl tremendously.

Some bird species also prey upon adult eagle-owls in the wild.  It is illegal to capture owls in South Africa. Special care should be given to this species to keep it flourishing around the world.  

Spotted Eagle-Owl Fun Facts

What do spotted eagle-owls look like?

The upper body of the spotted eagle-owl (Bubo africanus) is colored dusky brown and the lower parts are colored off white. This is complemented with brown bars. The facial disk is colored off white to pale ochre. The eyes are colored yellow. These owls have prominent ear tufts like all species of ear-owls. The mantle is colored gray-brown with white spots and the rump and back are colored gray barred buff. Dark gray coloration with broad pale bars is seen on the flight feathers and tail. The underparts are colored white barred with gray. The throat is also colored white and ark spots are seen on the chest sides.

Pale coloration is seen more in males than the females. Their ear tufts do not help the ears and are only present for decoration purposes. When erect, they look more like horns.

Bubo africanus

How cute are they?

Owls are usually not considered cute as people usually find them quite creepy. The behavior is found to be cute by many.

How do they communicate?

The call of a spotted eagle-owl sounds like a mellow 'hoot'. Males make a call of 'hoo-hooooee' twice and the females respond with a triple 'hoo-hoo-hooee’ call.

The chicks however make a sound like a hiss which is a loud screech. Chicks hiss and then click their beaks if they find themselves in danger. This also helps the parents find the chicks if they get lost in the wild.

How big is a spotted eagle-owl?

The length of the spotted eagle-owl (Bubo africanus) goes up to 18 in (45.7 cm). The wingspan of this species is between 39-55 in (99-139.7 cm) and the height of this owl falls between 16.9-19.7 in (43-50cm). A Cape eagle-owl has a length of 18-24 in (45.7-61 cm).

The great grey owl has a height of around 24-33 in (61-83.8 cm). It is one of the biggest species of owls in the world. The weight of this owl species is 1.3-4.2 lb (0.59-1.9 kg).

How fast can a spotted eagle-owl fly?

The speed of these owls is not known. Some owl species are known to fly at a speed of 40 mph (64.3 kph).

How much does a spotted eagle-owl weigh?

The weight of this species is between 1-2 lb (453.5-907.1 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female species of the spotted eagle-owl are not given different names.

What would you call a baby spotted eagle-owl?

Babies are called chicks or young.

What do they eat?

The diet of spotted eagle-owls includes larger insects, arthropods, small mammals, reptiles, and some birds like the Cape spurfowl and helmeted guineafowl chicks. The diet also includes flying insects, bats, shrews, squirrels, moles, mice, and rats.

Primary predators of this owl species include martial eagles, snakes, and mongooses. Large owl species sometimes feed on the smaller ones.

Are they dangerous?

The spotted eagle-owl (Bubo africanus) is not considered dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

They are not usually considered pets. Owls are sometimes seen as pets and this trend has been brought about by the famous series of books and feature films 'Harry Potter'. However, owls thrive in their natural habitat and should be left alone there.

Did you know...

The spotted eagle-owl (Bubo africanus) is not known to migrate.

It is not considered an endemic species but is native to the southern African region.

Males and females are similar, however, males are paler in color.

Do eagle owls eat cats?

Eagle owls will eat anything that they can carry, so yes, they eat cats and dogs.

Why is it called an eagle owl?

They are called eagle owls as these owls are as large as eagles.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these tawny owl facts and harpy eagle facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Spotted eagle owl coloring pages.

Written By
Ritwik Bhuyan

<p>A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.</p>

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