IUCN status
Least Concern
Scientific name
Strix uralensis
Europe, Russia, China and Japan.
Mountains, forests and meadows

Ural owl hunting

Ural owls are mostly nocturnal hunters, and behind their feathers they have large ears for an owl (24 mm in length on the left and 27 mm on the right). 

Ural owl diet

Ural owls mostly eat rodents (voles, rats, mice, shrews and hares).

Ural owl flying

Ural owls human attacks

The Ural Owl generally avoids humans in the wild, but if humans approach its nest she will defend it by striking the intruder from behind, claws extended aiming for the head and shoulders, with the resultant impact occurring at up to 40 km/h – the equivalent force of a 72 kg mass falling from a height of 1 m – hence the colloquial Swedish name of Slaguggla or “attacking owl”.

Ural owl at Whipsnade Zoo

Ural owl size

50–62 cm in length, with a wingspan of 124–134 cm; males are smaller than females, weighing 500–950 g versus 570–1300 g

Ural owl habitat

These owls can be found in the mountains, forests and meadows of Europe, Russia, China and Japan.

Ural owl nesting

These camouflaged birds make their nest in hollow trees, holes in rock faces or anyone else’s nest they can commandeer. Owl chicks are called “owlets”

Clutch size 1 – 6

Incubation period : 27 – 34 days

Birds at the Zoo

  • White-faced Scops Owl with two tufts on it's head and bright orange eyes
    Ptilopsis leucotis

    White-faced scops owl

    These owl are able to transform to ward off predators, by either making themselves appear much larger or smaller.

  • Burrowing owl perched on a person's hand
    Athene cunicularia

    Burrowing owl

    The only owl species in the world to live underground, our burrowing owls show off their unique behaviours at Birds of the World.

  • Ricky the rockhopper penguin at Whipsnade Zoo
    Eudyptes moseleyi

    Rockhopper penguin

    These small penguins pack in a big personality, and Ricky the rockhopper penguin is one of our most famous animals.

  • Two Marabou storks 'the undertaker bird' at Whipsnade Zoo
    Leptoptilos crumenifer

    Marabou stork

    Known as the 'undertaker bird', these storks gained their unfortunate nickname because of their huge, dark, cloak-like wingspan and diet of rotten carcasses.

  • African penguins at Whipsnade Zoo
    Spheniscus demersus

    African penguin

    These penguins are from warm climates, coming from the beaches of South Africa and Namibia.