Western Siberian Eagle Owl
Bubo bubo sibiricus
60 - 78cm
1.5 - 1.9m
1.6 - 4.6kg
10 - 20 yrs
The western Siberian eagle owl is a large subspecies of the Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo). As its name suggests, it is found in the vicinity of western Siberia, making it the most northerly distributed of all the Eurasian eagle owl subspecies. It should not be confused with the eastern Siberian eagle owl (B. b. yenisseensis).
It is thought of as the most distinctive of all Eurasian eagle owl subspecies, with perhaps the palest colouration overall. It is mostly an off-white – particularly on the chest - with the dark markings on its head, back and underparts much lighter by comparison. For this reason, many believe it to be the most beautiful.
What Does it Look Like?
What Does it Sound Like?
The primary call is a deep, monotonous “oohu-oohu” used by the male to stake out its territory. The female’s, by comparison, is of a higher pitch. Reaching an impressive 300 hertz, these calls can be heard for miles. They are also capable of other vocalisations, such as barking and growling when feeling under threat.
Because it inhabits the most northerly extremes of the Eurasian eagle owl’s range, this subspecies must get by on a far less varied diet than those in the south. The proportion of rodents in particular is proportionally higher, as they are often the only accessible prey in sub-Arctic conditions. As such, its diet largely consists of lemmings and hardier vole species.
What Does it Eat?
Where Does it Nest?
They prefer sheltered sites between rocks and cave entrances, typically using a nest abandoned by another large bird. However, they may simply nest on the ground, where the female will examine a number of depressions before selecting the most suitable. Generally, only one chick will be raised at a time.
It has a fairly broad distribution from the Ural mountains in western Siberia and Bashkiria to the western Altai mountains - via the river Ob - at the point where Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia converge. These mountainous areas provide the ideal habitat due to this owl’s preference for rocky cliffside nesting sites.
Where Does it Live?
What is its Status?
The western Siberian eagle owl does not have its own conservation status as it is a subspecies of the Eurasian eagle owl, which itself is considered least concern. However, populations are falling, with the leading causes of death being man-made. It is easily disturbed, so efforts to educate people who may come into contact with it are underway.
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