Thought to be part of the B. bubo species-group (see that species). Formerly treated as conspecific with B. bubo; separation based mainly on vocalizations, and partly on morphology, but DNA evidence not conclusive; also, appears to intergrade with B. bubo in parts of Middle East, suggesting that conspecificity perhaps possible; on the other hand, some range overlap without known intermediates with B. bubo race hispanus in NW Africa (although latter now presumed extinct there); further study warranted. S populations (Sahara to Arabia and S Iraq) sometimes separated as race desertorum, but this better considered a pale colour morph (which more frequent in S). Monotypic.
NW Africa and N Egypt E to Jordan and N to C Iraq#R, S in Sahara to Mauritania and Niger and to C Sudan and Eritrea (possibly N Ethiopia), and Arabian Peninsula.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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