Bubo Africanus - The Spotted Eagle Owl

Nocturnal hunters, the spotted eagle owl spends most of the day concealed in trees, rock ledges or abandoned burrows. The Spotted Eagle Owl is a medium to large owl with prominent ear tufts. The upper-parts of the body are dusky brown with pale spots, the under-parts are whitish and finely barred.

Did you know? The Spotted eagle-owl is a familiar bird in many parts of South Africa Africa, and lives in a wide range of habitats.

Despite being one of the smaller eagle-owl species, the spotted eagle owl has an impressive one metre wingspan. The facial disk is whitish to pale ochre and the eyes are yellow. The Spotted Eagle owl can easily be mistaken for the Cape Eagle owl. Differences are the yellow eyes, smaller claws and striped legs.


Range mass: 480 to 850 g.
Range length: 45 cm.
Range wingspan: 100+ cm.


Savannah, rocky outcrops, scrub, open and semi-open woodland, semi-deserts.


Sub-equatorial Africa from Kenya and Uganda south to the Western Cape in South Africa.

If you travel to South Africa, you can see them at the Kruger Park (which straddles Limpopo and Mpumalanga), Kloofendal Reserve in Johannesburg, and the Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve, which is close to Sun City and only 90 minutes from Jo’burg.


Invertebrates, small mammals, birds insects, frogs and small reptiles.


Spotted Eagle owls are monogamous birds breeding with one partner for life. They are a nocturnal species and emerge at dusk from its daytime roost to start hunting.


Song is normally 1 or 2 "double hoots", followed by a 3 syllable hoot and then 1 long drawn out hoot hoo-hoo buhoohoo-hooo.


From July to February two to four eggs are laid in a scrape on the ground, normally sheltered by a bush, grass or rocks. Incubation lasts for 32 days. Young leave the nest by about 5 weeks and are fledged by 7 weeks, but remain with parents for at least another 5 weeks.


Incubation of the eggs takes 32 days.

Life Expectancy

They live up to 10 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.


Martial eagle.


Hoesdpruit Endangered Species Centre; World Owl Trust; Biodiversity Explorer; Arkive.org.

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Spotted Eagle Owl
Kruger Park's Big 6 Birds
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