What are the features of the rock eagle-owl?

          Rock eagle-owls are very big birds found only in the Indian subcontinent. They are also called Bengal eagle owls. A peculiar feature of these birds is the collection of feathers standing up as a bunch on their heads, called tufts. Their overall plumage is a splash of brown and grey. They exhibit a white patch, striped in black, on the throat. But younger birds lack this throat patch and are usually white.

          These birds prefer living in areas rich in trees, ravines, canals, forts, ruins and similar rocky hillsides.

          They reuse their nests every year. These birds are nocturnal and are seen in pairs when they perch in the open during dusks and dawns. They roost in large trees, rocks and on the ground, under cover. They prey upon other smaller birds like partridges, doves, roller, shikra and spotted owlet. But they also feed on rodents and reptiles.

          There is a big under-ground market thriving on the hunting of these birds, although capturing them is illegal in India. At the same time, they are considered to be of ‘Least Concern’ in the IUCN Red list.