Bubo bubo 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Strigiformes Strigidae

Scientific Name: Bubo bubo (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Eurasian Eagle-owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Eurasian Eagle-Owl
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hong Kong; Hungary; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Japan; Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Nepal; Netherlands; Norway; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation (Central Asian Russia, Eastern Asian Russia, European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan
Bahrain; Gibraltar
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:51400000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):4500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 18,500-30,300 pairs, which equates to 36,900-60,600 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.20% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 180,000-300,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. The population is therefore placed in the band 100,000-499,999 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  The overall population trend is suspected to be declining. The European population is estimated to be increasing (BirdLife International 2015). However the Asian population has apparently undergone a marked decline since the 1970s (Holt et al. 2013).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:100000-499999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species inhabits mainly rocky country with cliffs and ravines, caves, patches of woodland, scattered trees or groves, generally in undisturbed wilderness areas. It also uses open forest, taiga and other types of woodland, wooded steppe, river valleys with gorges, overgrown quarries and farmland with suitable rocky areas or cliffs. The species is monogamous and breeds from February to August in Scandinavia, however egg-laying occurs in December in France. It nests on sheltered cliff ledges or in crevices, in a cave entrance, on the ground on steep slope or on flatter ground in taiga. Occasionally it uses old tree nests of other species and rarely in hole in tree. The same site is often used for several years or in rotation with other favoured sites. Clutches are usually two to four eggs (Holt et al. 2013). It feeds mostly on mammals from small rodents to hares and birds to the size of herons and buzzards, but it also consumes reptiles, frogs, fish and larger insects. It also preys on other owl species in its range (König 2008). The species is resident in most of its range and juveniles disperse over variable distances (Holt et al. 2013).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):12.1
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Most declines are due to human activity. It is extremely sensitive and the slightest disturbance can cause the abandonment of the nest. Unfortunately cross-country skiing, mountaineering, alpinism and other leisure activities often take people unknowingly near nests (Tucker and Heath 1994). It suffers from human persecution and poisoning from mercury seed-dressings, and deaths through road traffic, barbed wire (Holt et al. 2013) and overhead wires (Tucker and Heath 1994) are not insignificant (Holt et al. 2013). These threats still persist despite its protected status in most countries (König 2008). A significant decline in Mediterranean countries in the 1960s is thought to be due to the effects of myxomatosis on rabbit populations (Holt et al. 2013). Egg-collectors impose a relatively high level of nest-robbing on the species (Tucker and Heath 1994).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Bern Convention Appendix II. EU Birds Directive Annex I. The species is protected in most countries within its range (König 2008). Extensive reintroduction programmes, especially in Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Scandinavia aided by protection have enabled recovery in parts of Europe since the 1970s. The species is also likely to have benefited from an increased food supply created by the proliferation of refuse tips and large clearfell areas, which have increased prey species populations (Holt et al. 2013).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Nesting territories, and potential territories, should be protected from development and from extensive logging (Holt et al. 2013). Awareness should be raised of the species's susceptibility to disturbance, particularly with the public, birdwatchers and photographers (Tucker and Heath 1994). Enforcement of protection should be strengthened.

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Country occurrence edited - Nepal added, and seasonality corrected for multiple countries.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Bubo bubo (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22688927A113569670. . Downloaded on 15 August 2018.
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