Development of chicks and predispersal behaviour of young in the Eagle Owl Bubo bubo

Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo) Science Article 10


Little quantitative information on the development and behaviour of chicks and young is available for many species, despite the crucial importance of such data and the sensitivity of this stage in a bird’s life. For Eagle Owls Bubo bubo, despite the large amount of scientific literature on this species, much basic information is lacking. This study provides a photographic and morphometric guide for age estimation of nestlings and fledglings, as well as data on the call behaviour of young, and patterns of movements during the post-fledging dependence period. The most remarkable event in chick development is the rapid increase in mass, and size gain, during the first 30 and 40-45 days, respectively. Because after this time morphometric differences become less evident, young-feather development is more useful for ageing. Patterns of chick call behaviour showed that the time spent calling increased with age and, from 110 days of age, chick vocalizations were usually uniformly distributed through the whole night and most synchronized at sunset and sunrise (the maximum recorded number of vocalizations per chick and per night was 1106 calls). During the post-fledging dependence period, radiotagged Owls moved widely, up to 1500 m from the nest after the age of 80-90 days.

V. PENTERIANI, M. M. DELGADO, C. MAGGIO, A. ARADIS & F. SERGIO, Ibis 147 (1), 155-168

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