Cape Eagle-Owl | Bubo capensis

Robert's Birding Information: Cape Eagle Owl

The Cape Eagle-Owl is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Strigidae bird family group which includes birds such as Typical owls.

The description for the Cape Eagle-Owl (Latin name Bubo capensis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Bubo capensis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 400 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 255. You will find a picture of the Cape Eagle-Owl on page 272.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Cape Eagle Owl in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Cape Eagle-Owl between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Cape Eagle-Owl has a height of 50 cms and weighs around 1000 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured black. The Bubo capensis has a white coloured throat, white legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are orange.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is brown.

Eyes are orange.

Bill is black.

Legs are white.

Throat is white.

Back is brown.

Cape Eagle Owl Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Cape Eagle-Owl strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

The Bubo capensis attacks smaller birds in flight and uses its sharp claws to break the bird's neck. Some of the birds are attacked in their nests while others are killed on the ground. The Cape Eagle-Owl eats the eggs of its victim.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Cape Eagle-Owl uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Cape Eagle Owl Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Cape Eagle-Owl is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 3 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

The Cape Eagle-Owl is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is found in the African bushveld.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Cape Eagle-Owl is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks.