The Ural owl is large in size and a member of the wood owl species. They have round-shaped heads and long dark brown-colored tails. They do not have ear tufts. Further, their wings measure around 10-15 inches in length. Also, their color varies from white to pale gray. In addition, they have black eyes and their bill is orange-yellow in color.
They are smaller in size than the Great Grey Owls and larger-sized than the Tawny Owls. More so, their plumage is grey to brown in color; they have dark brown streaks on the back, undersides, and rear of the head. Besides, they have lines of light to dark spots on their face and shoulders.
Male owls have a deep rhythmic song for calling out to their mates. Female owls, on the other hand, have a hoarse higher pitched song. The males remain perched on trees and attract the females with rhythmic hoots. An interesting feature of Ural owls is that they mate for life. They, also, populate the territory for years.
Ural owls are nocturnal in nature. In fact, during dusk and dawn, they remain active; in the day, they settle in trees for cover. Additionally, they blend in with the bark of trees; in the cold months, they merge with the snow that layers the area.
Ural owls inhabit in fully-grown deciduous and mixed forests. They are found across Asia, Europe, Japan, and Russia. Also, they are named after the Ural Mountains that span these countries.
Ural owls have nests in hollow trunks and cavities of trees, or holes in rocks. Moreover, they use the nests of larger birds and squirrels to reside in.
Furthermore, in Finland, for their conservation, national nest boxes have been created for them to dwell in.
Ural owls are birds of prey. They hunt for frogs, mammals, insects, rodents and small game birds. However, their main prey are shrews, mice, rats, and voles. They hunt from perches and store the extra food in their nests
Ural owls are, indeed, effective hunters because they can adapt in a number of ways. Their large white facial disk helps them to hear moving prey, while their coloration allows them to blend in with the surrounding environment. More so, their feathers on the wings have serrated edges, which eliminates noise when they are flying.
To a large extent, the Ural owl is common, yet their population has decreased in areas where broken or hollow trees have been removed. This is because there has been a fall in appropriate nesting habitats for them.
Nonetheless, for their conservation, nesting boxes have been created.
In open space areas such as fields, the Eagle owl beats the Ural owl for food.