Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl                     Bubo virginianus

Type of Animal:

Desert, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, urban areas, woodlands, suburbs, parks, fields, agricultural areas, swamps, orchards, prairie, pampas, mountains, mangroves, chaparral, tundra, scrub forest, savanna, bogs, marshland, riparian areas, estuarine areas, coastal areas, plains, canyons, semi-desert, river valleys, lake shores, woodlots, streamsides

Found in much of Alaska, much of Canada, continental U.S, Mexico, N.W. C. America, N.W. Venezuela, N. & W. Colombia, C. Ecuador, N.W. Peru, E. Bolivia, parts of Guianas & bordering part of E. Brazil, much of E. Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, & N.E. Argentina.

Noticeable by 2 feather tufts or “horns,” barred plumage, owls in drier areas lighter in color, females larger than males, owls in N. parts of range largest, reddish, brown, or gray facial disc, mottled gray-brown.

Mammals up to size of dogs & bobcats, birds up to size of herons, swans, & cranes, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, carrion

Status in Wild:

Not Applicable

Solitary or monogamous pairs

Additional Info:


Male-1.5-3 lbs
Female-1.8-4.4 lbs

1 month 

Life Span:
13-15 years

Male-1.67 ft
Female-1.96 ft

Body Length:
Male-1.67 ft
Female-1.96 ft

Tail Length:
Male-8 in
Female-10 in

Main predators of adults are bears, coyotes, wolves, eagles, foxes, bobcats, & lynx (foxes, bobcats, & juvenile lynx sometimes eaten by owls). Other raptors (including strange adults of own species), corvids, & cats prey on owlets. Opossums eat eggs.

Has wingspan of 3-5 ft, w/ females having longer wingspan.

Male has deeper voice than female.

One of the largest North American owls.

Also called cat owl, hoot owl, big eared owl, tiger owl, & “tiger of the sky.”

Fights over territory ferocious, sometimes resulting in death.

Primarily active at night (nocturnal).

Owlets leave parents at 9-10 months old and can breed at 1 year old.

Fun Fact(s):
They’re known for their silent aerial attack, known as “silent flight.”

Breeding pairs extremely protective of nests/young & will attack people in defense.

They can swivel their heads 180 degrees in any direction.

Due to feathers covering large ears, they can hear smallest sound 900 ft away.

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