Great Horned Owls


Size: 25 inches (64 cm)
Weight: 2-3 1/4 lbs (906-1472g)
Migration: Partial Migrant
Habitat: Most forst types, grassland, shrubland, and rocky areas with steep gorges
Population: Common

Information About Great Horned Owls

This large, mainly nocturnal, owl has large erect ear tufts, and its gray - mostly brown plumage is mottled above and barred underneath, helping it roost virtually undetected during daylight hours. It's mostly commonly seen with rust-brown facial disks and a white chin and throat. Occuring throughout North and South America, from the most northern treeline and south to Chile, the Great Horned Owl occupies the widest habitat range of any owl in the world. This is because it takes a wide vareity of prey and will use virtually any nesting site, including rock faces and old buildings that offer sufficient cover.

Great Horned Owl Ear Tufts:

Several owls, including the Great Horned Owl, have prominent ear tufts or "horns", as they are also called. The function of these tufts remains disputed. Some argue that they aid in daytime camoflage, breaking up the shape and helping it blend with its perch. Others believe that the tufts are used for behavioral signaling and species recognition. What appears clear, however, is that they have no role in hearing.

The Great Horned Owl
(Bubo Virginianus)

Barn Owl
Interesting Fact:
Great Horned Owls are the largest of the eared owls.

Live Great Horned Owl Camera Links

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Ellis Bird Farm Owl Cam off-air

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What Great Horned Owls look like:

They can vary greatly in color from almost white (in the far north), to brown and grays farther south. They are heavily mottled and streaked birds with a distinctive white throat. The ear tufts are prominent as the large yellow eyes.

Where Great Horned Owls live:

They inhabit a range of habitats including deciduous and mixed woodland, open country, and occasionally suburban parkland.

What Great Horned Owls eat:

They feed on rabbits, lizards, frogs, and birds. They are capable of taking birds up to the size of a crow.

When Great Horned Owls nest:

Great Horned Owls are one of the earliest to begin breeding, they often start to lay eggs in late January, when there is still snow on the ground.

Where Great Horned Owls nest:

The nest will often be on a cliff ledge or occasionally on the ground. They are also recorded using old heron and hawk nests. They will lay 2 or 3 white eggs.

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