Indian Eagle Owl (Bubo bengalensis), also known as the Rock Eagle Owl or the Bengal Eagle Owl is a large, horned owl found across the hilly, rocky scrub-forests of the Indian Subcontinent. The cat-like long ear tufts, those big glowing eyes and the majestic size are unmistakable.
Quite widely distributed across India, this species is found all over. However, the place I most love to see them in, is the amazing capital town of the erstwhile Vijayanagar empire, Hampi. This species is always high on my target list whenever I visit the place. In Hampi, they can be found inhabiting the rocky-cliff sides of the Tungabhadra high-level canal in a place called Kamalapura. The cliff face and the scrub forest behind form an ideal habitat for this beautiful bird. The owls are so well camouflaged against the outgrowth that one needs very keen, discerning eyes to spot them.
THE STARE — The moody tone that is unmissable when you see an individual. The beautiful ear tufts raise up assessing you and the situation. The big orange-yellow or orange-red eyes seem to glow as they open up wide. They are quite entrancing and so powerful!
A few of those moments below…
As you can notice, the Indian eagle owl is a huge and powerful bird, no second thoughts to it. Its presence can be felt just by looking into its eyes.
PARENTING — A more subtle, mellowed moody tone. I got lucky to encounter this bird with its chicks. Nesting along the canal’s rocky, slippery walls and having to handle young, naive chicks is indeed a tough job. It was wonderful to see the soft and caring mother, with her curious and over-eager chicks. One of the chicks was quite eager to take its first steps and was heading very close to the rock’s edge too. Yet another one, not shown in the image below was already a few steps down on the slippery slope. A nervous task for the parent indeed.
Indian Eagle Owls are nocturnal animals like most owls are. As the dusk begins to set in, they are all active and up on the scrub-forest above and behind the walls of the canal. They mainly feed on rodents but are capable and have also been seen taking down big birds like the Indian peafowl.
SELF INTROSPECTION — A mood of deliberation I guess, as the day begins for the owl. Sitting over a small mound, it seems to be planning the day, or should I say, the night ahead.
With a plan finalised, it was time to move on, to go and find food for itself, its mate and chicks.
These birds are powerful fliers too. They just whizz past you in total silence. The flapping of their huge wings create absolutely no sound whatsoever, very characteristic of Owls.
SUNSET LOOKOUT — A golden moody tone. Indian eagle owls prefer to hunt from a perch, a good vantage point. Sitting high up and looking around for potential prey. Caught this individual in a lovely setting as the sun was going down behind the hills in the lovely land of Hampi.
So, there you go, a few interesting settings or moods that I have encountered this majestic bird in. Wanted to share this with you all. Hope you enjoyed them. Do leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Until next time.., cya…