- The Indian eagle-owl or rock eagle-owl, is a large horned owl species native to hilly and rocky scrub forests in the Indian Subcontinent.
- It is splashed with brown and grey, and has a white throat patch with black small stripes.
- Conservation Status: Least Concerned (IUCN), Appendix II (CITES)
- Distinct Species: Classified separately from the Eurasian eagle-owl, the Indian eagle-owl stands out with its imposing size, reaching up to two and a half feet in length and six feet in wingspan.
- Nocturnal Secrets: Due to its nocturnal nature, limited knowledge is available about the bird, contributing to its aura of mystery.
- Menacing Appearance: Prominent ear tufts resembling horns may have evolved to deter predators, giving the bird a threatening appearance.
Threats from Superstitions
- In rural India, the bird is considered a bearer of ill omens, and its loud double-hoot calls are linked to superstitions.
- Folklore suggests that when trapped and starved, the Indian eagle-owl could speak in a human voice, foretelling the future of its listeners.
- The Indian eagle owl’s diet of rodents, including rats and bandicoots, aligns well with open scrublands and agricultural regions, making it beneficial for farmers.
- Owls nesting near agricultural lands have shown higher numbers of healthier owlets due to the abundance of rodents.