Great Horned Owl

Creature Features

Description                                                                                                                                                                                           Large owl with large ear tufts and yellow eyes. The color of the facial disc varies regionally from gray to cinnamon. The wings are broad and rounded.

Diet                                                                                                                                                                                                       Varied, mostly mammals and birds. Takes many rats, mice, rabbits, opossums, skunks, many others. Eats some birds, also snakes, lizards, frogs, insects, rarely fish.

Young & Nesting                                                                                                                                                                                    Both parents take part in providing food for young owls. Young may leave nest and climb on nearby branches at 5 weeks, can fly at 9-10 weeks; tended and fed by parents for up to several months.

Fun Facts 

  • Other Names: Tiger owl, hoot owl, winged tiger, tiger of the air
  •  Scientific Name: Bubo virginianus
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  •  Lifespan: 5 to 15 years
  • Body Length: 18 to 24 inches
  • Wingspan: 39 to 57 inches
  • Weight: 32 to 88 ounces
  • Incubation: 28 to 35 days
  • Number of eggs: 2 to 3, sometimes 1 to 5, rarely 6
  • Habitat: Forests, woodlots, streamsides, open country.
  • Distribution: Found throughout most of North America and much of South America.

Did You Know?

The Great-horned owl has no horns! It is named for the tufts of feathers that sit on top of its head, called plumicorns. Contrary to popular belief, owls cannot turn their heads completely around. They can rotate 270 degrees, thanks to the extra vertebra in their necks.