Eagle-owls are impressive animals. As the largest owls, they are top predators in their environments, even feeding on other birds of prey. Their size and eerie calls have ensured them a place in the folklore of many cultures.

It should then be unsurprising that the eagle-owl has been reinterpreted as a supernatural creature. The Duphon can be found in the Hautes-Alpes region of France, where it braids horse manes, pinches young women, and causes mischief and mayhem. The town of Serres preserves a duphon lair in the form of a stone door and ruined ramparts, known as the Trou du Duphon (“The Duphon’s Hole”).


van Gennep, A. (1948) Le folklore des Hautes-Alpes, Tome II. J. P. Maisonneuve et Cie, Paris.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2013) Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Ladoucette, J. C. F. (1848) Histoire, topographie, antiquités, usages, dialectes des Hautes-Alpes. Gide et Cie, Paris.