Great Gray Owl

Strix nebulosa




Barn Owls, Typical Owls (Tytonidae & Strigidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

2 - 5

Incubation Days:

28 - 29

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

1 - 50 feet above ground on broken-off tops of snags and stumps.

Nest Material:

Abandoned nests.





Great Gray Owl: Very large owl with dark gray body interspersed with bars and flecks of brown, pale gray, and white. Head is large and without ear tufts. Eyes are yellow and relatively small. Bulky appearance when perching is due to dense, fluffy plumage, long wings extending past body, and relatively long tail. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Great Gray Owl: Found from central Alaska across Canada, down the northern portions of the Rocky Mountains, and into extreme northern Minnesota; also found in northern Europe and Asia. Preferred habitats include stunted coniferous forests along the edge of the Arctic tree line and mixed or coniferous forests.

Breeding and Nesting

Great Gray Owl: Two to five white eggs are laid in an abandoned stick nest made by hawks, ravens, or crows. Female incubates eggs for 28 to 29 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Great Gray Owl: Feeds primarily on small rodents such as voles and pocket gophers; also consumes shrews and birds. Hunts from a perch, from which it locates prey with its keen sense of hearing.


Great Gray Owl: Call is a bold, deep, booming, "whooooo, woo, woo, wo"; also utters single-note hoots.

Similar Species

Great Gray Owl: Barred Owl is smaller, has brown eyes, and is brown and white overall.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X