Birds of prey
DIETIt has a very varied diet. It feeds mainly on mammals (voles, rats, mice, foxes, hares), as well as all kinds of birds.
They also consume snakes, lizards, fish, frogs, crabs as well as rodents, rabbits, hedgehogs, crows, pigeons and even bats.
ReproductionIt builds a nest at the end of March/start of April, simply furnished with remnants of hair or feathers torn from its prey.
The female lays 2 to 4 eggs that she incubates for 32 days, while the male brings her food.
The eggs measure from 51 to 73 x 42 to 54 mm.
Once hatched the young are protected by the mother from bad weather and the sun. About a month and a half later, the young leave the nest but remain close by. They can fly perfectly well by three months old.
HabitatWidespread across Europe apart from the most western part.
In France they are found in rocky areas in the east, centre and south. Encountered in plains as well as mountains.
They settle on rocky ledges or for example the remparts of an old castle but always close to a stretch of water.
In France, while all nocturnal birds of prey have been protected since 1902 under the Protection of Birds Useful to Agriculture convention, only the Eurasian eagle-owl was excluded from this protection.
It benefitted from protection thanks to the Ministerial Decree of 27 November 1964 for species that are prohibited from being hunted.
The Eurasian eagle-owl has enjoyed comprehensive protection on French soil since the Ministerial Decree of 17 April 1981 concerning protected birds throughout the territory.
It is included in Appendix I of the European Union’s Birds Directive.