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ural owl
(Strix uralensis)


Ranges from Scandinavia to Japan, with isolated populations further south.


Common in coniferous and mixed forest. Inhabits mountain, beech woodland in south of range.

biological characteristics

Their main prey are rodents, but they also take birds and squirrels. The call of the ural owl is not unlike that of the tawny owl to which it is closely related. It is, however, a very quiet and secretive bird and it is unusual to hear its call outside the breeding season.

conservation status

Not threatened.


  • The ural owl uses its dense feathering to trap air and this helps to keep it warm in winter.

  • It is not uncommon for these birds to interbreed with other family members, as they prefer not to travel very far from their birth home.

  • These owls are so protective of their home ranges that local Scandinavian woodcutters have to wear helmets because urals often attack.

fact file

Rheas are silent when adult, they only squeak softly when chicks.