Belongs to: owls

Tawny owl Strix aluco

BoCC Amber list

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Medium-sized brown owl with familiar hoots and shrieks

Habitat: copses, well-wooded parks and gardens

Widespread resident, the most common owl in Essex and much of Britain


Chestnut-brown and buff owl with dark eyes; 37 cm

Often heard calling during the night; 'too-whit-to-whooo' is really the female's 'ke-wick' call answered by the male's 'hoo-hoo'

Eats small birds and mammals


No nest is built – lays usually in a tree hole, occasionally in a squirrel's drey or on a building

One brood of 2–4 white eggs, March to May, incubated by the female

The male usually feeds the nestlings, which fly after about a month

© Ken Wooldridge

© Jonathan Smith