Greater Derrish owl
The great Derrish owl, sometimes simply referred to as the great owl, is a bravei bird of the family Strigidae. Though they're most commonly found in Daehrius, they're a fairly wide-ranging species and are known to range all the way into the northern reaches of Sefia and much of northern Frith.
Anatomy & Morphology
Because they're so heavily feathered, the actual body of the great owl is far smaller than it would appear. Like most owls, it has fairly minimal body mass. The volume of its feathers is quite large and gives it a huge, intimidating appearance nonetheless. Its feathers are generally a greyish brown, mottled and barred by streaks of darker coloration. Its facial disc is highly developed and relatively large in size, typically taking a reddish hue. However, the exact coloration of the facial disc ranges by location— in Sefia, for instance, it's more ashen, whereas in Frith it tends to lean browner, particularly in the southerly regions. The talons of the great owl are exceptionally large even for its size, as is its wingspan. The owl stands about seven feet tall in total, and the wingspan reaches over twenty feet in average individuals. Its eyes are massive and bright amber in color.
Genetics and Reproduction
Great owls begin their courting very early, at the beginning of winter. This is thought to be because the nights are longer at this time, which is advantageous to the nocturnal species. Great owl courting is fairly uneventful, particularly when compared to other birds and even other brave birds. Over the course of two months or so, the male attempts to attract the female by fluffing its feathers to appear larger, hooting forcibly and loudly, and presenting prey for the pair to share. Once a mate is found, they mate for life, though great owl pairings are not thought to be particularly emotionally close. Great owls are not nesters, preferring to recycle older nests from other birds or, in extreme cases or with owls that are too large to fly, may even burrow. A clutch rarely contains more than a single egg. Incubation takes about half a year, during which the male hunts for himself and the brooding bother both. Great owls typically mate only half a dozen times or so throughout their lifespans, though aggressive males may rarely mate with several females at once.
Growth Rate & Stages
The growth rate of the great owl is quite fast. Young are born with greyish down and cannot fly until about two months of age; about a month after this, they are behaviorally mature as well. Solitary birds, they try to leave the nest as soon as though they are able, though this time varies depending on the local abundance of food. It is exceedingly rare for a young great owl to remain under the care of its parents for longer than six months, however. As a great owl reaches advanced age (four hundred years or so), it may lose the ability to fly efficiently due to increased size and weight. At this point, they often migrate into the bowl of the Ring to hunt. However, the ecosystem can only support so many elderly great owls, so the majority starve to death at this point.
Ecology and Habitats
The great owl is quite far-ranging. Individuals in Sefia are fairly solitary, and often return to Daehrius for mating as great owl communities in the desert are so sparce. The Frithian group does not travel to Daehrius for these purposes, as they're greater in presence in Frith. Rarely, older grey owls may integrate into Wisebird society, although they are incapable of interbreeding. Great owls of the Ring are fairly successful due to their great size and hunting ability. However, due to their passive and solitary nature, they are usually subservient to more aggressive birds.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Great owls are extraordinarily skilled hunters, possibly the most skilled of any brave bird. Virtually anything that moves is viable prey for them, including other brave birds and even humans. Great owls of Sefia tend to prey primarily on Sandfowl, though smaller drakes are viable prey as well.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
The huge eyes of the great owl make its vision extremely strong, particularly (and notably) at night. Most notably, the owl's physiology revolves around providing an incredibly sensitive sense of hearing, and indeed its hearing is unmatched in the animal kingdom. However, its sense of smell is quite poor.
- Scientific Name
- Bubo fortis
- Strigidae (true owls)
- Conservation Status
- The great owl remains plentiful and far-ranging. Its relatively dun feathers and lean composition make it unfavorable for hunting, so its survival is not an immediate concern.
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