What is the human mating call

Appearance and voice

Well camouflaged owl with button eyes

Tawny owls are well camouflaged by their bark-colored plumage. The big button eyes in the dark framed light face veil are typical. The tawny owl is one of the larger owls. Only owls and eagle owls are larger.

Tawny Owl - Photo: Peter Kühn


Call of the tawny owl male


We hear the calls of our bird of the year in TV thrillers when it gets dark and scary. In real life, the long drawn out "Huu-hu-huhuhuhuu" sounds when tawny owls court or mark their territories - especially in autumn and late winter. They also draw attention to themselves almost all year round with their contact call "ku-witt".


Well camouflaged

Even if the male sings mostly, both sexes can utter courtship singing as well as the contact call, whereby the tone of the female sounds a little higher and hoarser. Tawny owls can be recognized by their compact build and bark-colored plumage. Her large head without feather ears sits on a stocky torso. He owes his friendly appearance to his large round "button eyes" in the dark-framed light face veil. The bent beak of the tawny owl is yellowish.

The silent hunters are 40 to 42 centimeters long and about the same size as crows and weigh 400 to 600 grams. The females are slightly larger and a quarter heavier than their partners. Regardless of gender or age, some of the tawny owls have a gray-brown basic color of the plumage, others a red-brown. One speaks of two different color morphs, similar to the different hair and eye colors in humans. In any case, the owls are usually well camouflaged by their bark-colored exterior.


Natural silencers

Like all owls, tawny owls fly almost noiselessly: a particularly dense and velvety cushion on the top of the wings and comb-like teeth on the edges of the outermost wing feathers swirl the airflow while flying and suppress any noise.


Tawny Owl in flight - Photo: Marcus Bosch

Tawny owls see very well in the dark as long as there is still some residual light. Your large eyes absorb a lot of light, the iris can perfectly regulate the incident light and thus guarantees optimal visual performance during the day and at night. In contrast to most other bird's eyes, owl eyes are directed forward and enable three-dimensional vision. This way, distances can be better estimated.

When it is completely dark, hunting tawny owls rely solely on their hearing: the funnel effect of the facial veil makes them sound-amplified and passes them on to the large ears hidden under the feathers. The slightly asymmetrical arrangement of the ears means that noises from targeted prey can be heard with a minimal time difference. That helps the tawny owl
to aim precisely at its prey.


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