Bengal Eagle Owl; Rock Eagle Owl; Indian Eagle Owl!
Bubo bengalensis - 'Nadi' and 'Snoopy'
Snoopy has been at the Centre for many years since 2001, and has been an excellent flying display bird both inside and outside. However, with such wealth of experience and knowledge comes a little beligerance, naughtiness and 'I'll do what I like' attitude. So Snoopy sometimes calls the shots .... he is now flown mainly in the Owl Barn as a Client Bird, responding well to people in a closer and more confined environment than outside in the field. He is one of the stars of the morning birds.
Nadi is our young Bengal Eagle Owl, hatched in April 2009, and now is one of our main birds for the afternoon flying display. Nadi flies brilliantly and glides long and low across the field to gain it's food - imagine flying out in the open savannah or sandy desert chasing a ghecko over the ground!
These medium sized owls live in rocky ravines, throughout India, catching mainly small mammals, reptiles and birds, by long, low gliding flights, or post and pounce attack. They prefer to nest on the ground in hidden scrapes, the young leaving the nest to 'branch out' from about 3 weeks of age.
They are typical Eagle Owls, with bright orange eyes, ear tufts, mottled sandy and brown striped plumage, and very soft feathering for silent flight. Their legs and chest are well protected with a thick covering of feathers to protect them from potential bites from their prey, including poisonous snake bites! Well adapted for their Indian habitat!
Ear tufts on all eagle owls have nothing to do with the hearing, but are more of a warning to predators by looking aggressive, or attraction to a mate by 'being the best looking owl in the world'!....... and indeed arguably they are :-)