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All information gathered first-hand, since 1995

Barn Owl

Tyto alba   –   Chouette Effraie

The white-breasted race alba is the only owl which is golden-buff above and white below.

The barn owl is often seen ghost-like in the dusk, or caught in the lights of a car, where it appears all-white.

Like all owls, its feather tips are split to break the wind flow at the trailing edge of the wings, eliminating even the soft sound of flowing air to produce absolute silent flying.


34 cm

Eagle Owl

Bubo bubo   –   Grand-Duc

This is a big bird, the largest owl in Europe. Its bright orange eyes and large "horns", along with its 150 cm wing span, give it a fierce appearance indeed.

In June of 1995, a 21-year-old shepherd in Montauroux discovered an exhausted eagle owl in a field with her goats. The bird was not injured, but sick and unable to fly.

The young woman looked after the owl and then transported it to a local vet. It was later taken to Menton where it will be cared for by experts before being released back at Montauroux.


65-70 cm

Long-eared Owl

Asio otus   –   Moyen-Duc

This medium-sized brown owl has very long ear tufts (noticeably longer than the Short-Eared Owl's), a slim, elongated face, long wings and orange-yellow eyes.

According to reference books, this resembles almost exactly the Eagle-owl in coloring. The size is the main difference there, as this owl is only half the size of the Eagle owl. Since the size difference is not apparent in individual photos, and since we are amateurs, the photos here could be wrong; please send us corrections if you know for sure.

The long-eared owl ranges across most of Europe, and is quite common in our Beyond region. During the day, the long-eared owl will perch on a branch inside the thick leaves of a tree, right up against the trunk.


36 cm

Short-eared Owl

Asio flammeus   –   Hibou de Marais

The Short-Eared owl hunts at dawn and during the day, making it the most likely of the owls to be seen during daylight. It alternates between owl-like flapping flight and soaring and gliding like a Harrier. Its wings are long, and have a black patch at the elbow on both top and bottom.

The ear tufts are not usually visible unless the owl is roosting (see second large photo).


38 cm

Tawny Owl

Strix aluco   –   Chouette Hulotte

This is a very common owl, seen often in Provence and across Europe. The Tawny Owl is nocturnal, but roosts on tree branches during the day, and is often mobbed by small birds while sleeping.

Coloring varies from browns to greys, but never has the white face of the barn owl. This photo shows one in the grey phase and one in the brown phase.


38 cm