HDR Photos ... Living Nature

This is the most sympathetic of our nocturnal raptors and, nevertheless, the most unjustly criticized. It appears frequently during the day, and perches on the low branches of the trees or on the stone walls of all our fields. When approaching him, he swells or squats and shakes his thick head with a sudden vertical movement, without the rest of the body shaking. Then, after a blink of his yellow eyes and a turn of the head to inspect the surroundings, this curious ball of feathers undertakes, the flight.

The European Mochuelo has associated with the other nocturnal raptors in the the slanderous world of birds of evil omen, and have been adjudged the worst crimes: destruction of young hunting, destruction in the laying of hens, etc. But it is content with insects and snails.

Although it can be seen during the day, the owl hunts mainly at twilight and at dawn. It then launches a lamentation «kiuu-kiuu».

It commonly nests in all of Spain, but there are areas where it is much more frequent; the Spanish population seems to behave as sedentary, although it is likely that some young individuals will be dispersed.

Identification : Gray plumage barred and mottled with white; rounded wings, short tail and wavy flight; the same sex.

Nesting : Nest without material; breeding in holes, usually in a tree, but also in walls of buildings, rocks, stonework, holes in sand or rabbit burrows; puts from April to May 3 to 5 white eggs; incubation, about 28 days, only by the female; the chickens, fed by both parents, fly after about 5 weeks; sometimes two offspring. Insects, beetles, earwigs; field mice, young rats and other small mammals; some small birds, frogs and lizards.

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