Family Typical Owls (Strigidae)

Least Concern

Ural Owl (Strix uralensis)


French: Chouette de l’Oural German: Habichtskauz Spanish: Cárabo uralense
Other common names: Pere David’s Owl (davidi)

Stryx [sic] uralensis


, 1771,

Ural Mountains, Russia


Has hybridized very occasionally with S. aluco#R. Race davidi sometimes considered a separate species (as in HBW)#R; while davidi is somewhat darker (score 1) and possesses contrasting concentric lines and marked rim around the facial disc (score 2), it is, however, not distinct in either voice#R or morphometrics; and, whereas it differs from fuscescens, the closest race geographically, in having larger, paler spots on head and mantle and a paler ground colour below, it is unclear how great its differences are from nikolskii, the closest race in appearance. Race liturata intergrades with nominate uralensis. Several other proposed races considered inseparable or result of clinal variation: birds described from Carpathians (carpathica) included within macroura; those from L Baikal to W Amurland (daurica), from Sakhalin (tatibanai) and from NE China and Korea (coreensis) merged with nikolskii; those from C Honshu (momiyamae) included in hondoensis. Nine subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. u. liturata Lindroth, 1788 – N Europe (Fennoscandia) and NW Russia (E to about Arkhangel’sk region) S to N Poland, Belarus and middle R Volga.
  • S. u. uralensis Pallas, 1771 – Ural Owl – from E European Russia E to Okhotsk coast.
  • S. u. macroura Wolf, 1810 – C & SE Europe (from Carpathian Mts S to Bulgaria, and in W Balkans).
  • S. u. yenisseensis Buturlin, 1915 – C Siberian plateau (to N Mongolia).
  • S. u. nikolskii (Buturlin, 1907) – L Baikal region and Transbaikalia E to Sakhalin, S to NE China and Korea.
  • S. u. japonica (A. H. Clark, 1907) – N Japan (Hokkaido).
  • S. u. hondoensis (A. H. Clark, 1907) – C Japan (N & C Honshu).
  • S. u. fuscescens Temminck & Schlegel, 1850 – S Japan (S Honshu S to Kyushu and Shikoku).
  • S. u. davidi (Sharpe, 1875) – Sichuan Owl – C China (SE Qinghai and W & C Sichuan).
  • Descriptive notes

    50–62 cm; male 500–950 g, female 570–1300 g; wingspan 95–134 cm. Relatively long-tailed, round-faced, rather pale owl. Facial disc grey-white, with... read more


    Usually fairly silent; male advertising call “Hu-ooo, Hoooo hu-HOO-hoo”, with c. 15... read more


    Boreal forest and mixed woodland, with some open areas such as bogs, clearings or small fields;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mammals, from size of small rodents such as mice and voles (Microtinae), to larger ones such as water voles (Arvicola) and young... read more


    Season Feb–Jul. Monogamous; 1 known case of polygyny; pairs usually for life, divorce rate less than 3%. Nest in tree hole or hollow... read more


    Mainly resident, even sedentary. Nearly all males and 90–95% of females stay near previous... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. European population estimated at c. 11,000–14,000 pairs (excluding Russia) in mid-1990s, including 4000 in Finland,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Holt, D.W., Berkley, R., Deppe, C., Enríquez Rocha, P., Petersen, J.L., Rangel Salazar, J.L., Segars, K.P., Wood, K.L. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Ural Owl (Strix uralensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 1 April 2020).