The eagle-owl is an impressively powerful and yet graceful bird of prey, and it is the largest owl in Africa with a length measuring up to 66cm. It is grey in colour and has distinctive pink eyelids. It is found virtually everywhere in sub-Saharan Africa and favours habitats that are dry and include wooded savanna. They are opportunistic hunters with very powerful talons: So powerful that there are reports of domestic cats in certain parts of Africa that the eagle-owl will attempt to hunt! Other reports claim that they are even capable of swooping down and successfully grabbing small goats! Other than this, they are commonly found to be hunting insects, birds (such as heron) and rodents. It is this adaptability that has made the eagle-owl able to withstand habitat loss and loss of it’s prey due to human activity, as it will switch to alternative sources of food and prey quite happily. This is apparently why it is rated in the ‘least concern’ category in the IUCN.

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Courtesy of Dick Smit/flickr