Verreaux's (giant) eagle-owl
The largest owl of the region. Its size (up to 65 cm) and pale grey coloration make it easily identifyable, and the pink eyelids are distinctive. The northern race of the Cape Eagle-Owl approaches it in size but that species has rufous coloration and boldly blotched and barred underparts.
Juvenile is paler grey in colour than adult, and is finely barred.
Broad-leaved woodland, savanna, thornveld and riverine forest.
The Verreaux eagle-owl is a versatile hunter, taking prey as large as genet or hare, down to the size of a large dung beetle. It has also been known to catch and eat unfortunate members of its cousin, the spotted eagle-owl.
Breeding occurs mostly in winter. Two eggs are usually produced, and are incubated within about five weeks. Juveniles stay with their parents until the onset of the next breeding season.
In the Kalahari, it often uses the top of the impressive nests of the sociable weaver for its own nest.
A grunting pig-like 'unnh-unnh-unnh'.