La Vallée de la Source
The raptor village
The Snowy Owl
Of all the owls only the male snowy owl has a pristine white plumage. The density and the fact that both the bill and the toes are drawn in enable these owls to survive in extremely low temperatures (- 40�C). With its snowy white appearance they can hunt during the day while remaining unseen, which is typical behaviour for these birds from the High North. The Arctic summer nights are also much too short for a nocturnal raptor to survive.
The white female is black spotted, which is ideal camouflage for breeding among pine trees, surrounded by a pine needle carpet.
The snowy owl is a very loyal life partner and they avoid people in the wild. They are still encountered in the north of Europe, Asia and Canada (the bird is also the symbol of Quebec), but it is an endangered species.
The Eagle Owl, hear, see and remain silent
This is one of the largest owls in Europe, but they are not easy to see. The reason for this is that they only become active at dusk and they inhabit some very inaccessible parts of the forest, secluded rock faces or abandoned ruins. Sometimes they betray themselves with their typical call. Despite their impressive silhouette, solid build and 70cm height, fierce orange-red eye and proud upright ear tufts, they are completely harmless to humans. These birds are excellent hunters and they mainly focus on smaller prey such as young foxes, birds, rabbits, hares, rodents and smaller raptors and they sometimes travel great distances to catch their prey.
The plumage of the owl primarily serves a camouflage function, but this does not seem to apply to this South American owl. And yet, with its bright orange beige coloured breast and brown-black back they use the light and shadow effect to their advantage in countries around the equator. Even the striking young snow white males can fool their enemies through their similarity with luminous light spots. The name of this owl is derived from the shape of glasses that their feathers form around their eyes. Nocturnally active, they prefer the light of the moon, when it is more difficult to observe them. They normally live in inaccessible mangrove forests where they feed on crabs, frogs, bats, larger insects and birds, including young songbirds that are still in the nest
The Great Grey Owl
This large owl with a wingspan of 1.4 m, approaches the caliber of the eagle owl, which is the largest of the owls. Another striking feature is the enormous flat faces where concentric circles make them look like something of a cartoon character. Even though their flat faces may look very cute to the observer, they are purely functional, especially when used to detect prey under the snow. Sound is amplified , no matter how slight, in the direction of the ear cavities.
This owl weighs approximately 800g, it has yellow eyes and powdery grey feathers that are white and dark grey marbled.
They are relatively rare and it is not clear if there is any pair bonding. They feed mainly on rodents such as lemmings, voles, shrews and rabbits.
Subject of horror stories and superstitions, this beautiful owl often fell victim to fear mongering. With its striking face in a heart shape, its long legs and beaded silver and brown plumage, they are certainly not terrifying. Quite the opposite. They also share a trait with humans as the owls snore while they are sleeping.
Its elongated screech is not very similar to the calls of other owls.
The European Sea Eagle have been brought back from the brink. The eagle with golden eyes, This poetic term for the European sea eagle is not in keeping with the sad fate that befell this species at the beginning of the XXth century. Exterminated by hunters and innocent victim of poison left out against stray dogs and foxes; this bird was narrowly saved from extinction. Reproduction programme in captivity; ban on poisoned bait; the establishment of nature reserves and continued reintroduction ultimately yielded the desired results.
The Andean Condor
With a wing width of 3(2m') it is the largest bird of prey and it is very unique among the Incas. The adult birds have black coverts; delineated by the white tips of its feathers, the neck is bound with an ancient looking 'cutter', a double white coloured collar. The male differs from the female by the presence of a small crest on the head.
The andean condor lives mostly at high altitude in a steep, inhospitable area, it is a magnificent sight to see them hover at 6000m altitude. They know exactly when the sea lions give birth. They fly for days on end not to miss their appointment on the Peruvian coast, as only the placenta of these mammals makes it all worth it. Incidentally, they also feed on seabird eggs, small prey and carrion. It can live up to the age of 90.
The American Bald Eagle
Symbol of the United States. The nephew of the European sea eagle reached considerable dimensions (wing width up to 2,5m, length of 90 cm at a weight of 3 to 6 kg). They nest in the vicinity of rivers, lakes and the sea; fish, where they hunt waterfowl and indulge. Thirty bald eagles have hatched in Pairi Daiza since 1994.
The raptor village in image
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The St. Bernard tower
Because of its checkered and square design and thick walls the St Bernard Tower has long been regarded as a relic of the Normans. More info