Great Horned Owl

Bubo virginianus

Order

STRIGIFORMES

Family

Barn Owls and Typical Owls (Tytonidae and Strigidae)

Code 4

GHOW

Code 6

BUBVIR

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Great Horned Owl is native to and the most widespread owl species throughout the Americas. Its breeding grounds are found in subarctic areas of North America, Central America and South America. Their preferred habitats include deciduous, coniferous and mixed woodlands, tropical rainforests, prairies, deserts, urban areas and mountains. Once this bird finds a mate, it becomes a permanent resident in its territory. Great Horned Owl eggs and young may fall prey to foxes, coyotes and wild or feral cats. Their diets consist of mammals such as rabbits, rats, squirrels, mice, moles, voles, shrews, bats, weasels and gerbils. The Great Horned Owl’s conservation rating is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Great Horned Owl: Large owl with dark brown, gray-brown mottled upperparts and dark barred underparts. Head has distinct ear tufts and rufous facial disk. Throat and upper breast are white and may have dark spots. Northern birds are paler and grayer. Strong, silent, direct, flap and glide flight.


Range and Habitat

Great Horned Owl: Commonly found throughout the forest habitats of North, Central, and South America, ranging from the Arctic regions of Canada to the Straits of Magellan. Preferred habitats include coniferous, mixed, and deciduous woodlands, areas along cliffs and rocky canyons, and forest openings.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"whoo! Whoo-whoo-Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!", "hoot-hoot-hoot-hoot"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Great Horned Owl will eat birds ranging in size from kinglets to Great Blue Herons and regularly eat other owls.
  • In frigid areas, where larger prey cannot be eaten quickly, they may let uneaten food freeze and then thaw it out later using their own body heat.
  • The reintroduction of Peregrine Falcons has been hampered in some areas by owls killing both adult and nestling falcons.
  • A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a "bazaar", "glaring", "parliament", "stooping", and "wisdom" of owls.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Great Horned Owl

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Chris Vest

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X