Scientific Classification

Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae
Genus Bubo
Class  Aves
Scientific Name Bubo virginianus

Other Names

  • Tiger owl, hoot owl, evil owl, cat owl, the great American owl, American hoot owl (English)
  • Grand-duc d’Amérique (French)
  • Búsho cornudo (Spanish)

Great Horned Owl Description

  • The eyes of the great horned owl are only slightly smaller than that of humans’.
  • The great horned owl is larger than the red-tailed hawk but it is equal to the golden eagle.
  • It is mostly most active from dawn to dusk.
  • Currently it is the only representative of the large group of eagle owls of the Old World.
  • The great horned owl is also one of the most successful of New World owls.
Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

Size & Weight

Adults:

  • TOTAL-LENGTH: 43 to 64 cm (17 to 25 in)
  • WEIGHT: (Males) 1,224 g (2.698 lb) (Females) 1,608 g (3.545 lb)
  • TAIL: 175 to 252 mm (6.9 to 9.9 in)
  • WINGSPAN: 91 to 153 cm (3 ft 0 in to 5 ft 0 in)
  • WING CHORD: 297–400 mm (11.7–15.7 in)
  • TARSUS: 54–80 mm (2.1–3.1 in)
  • BILL LENGTH: 3.3–5.2 cm (1.3–2.0 in)

Newborns:

  • WEIGHT: 7 g (1.22 oz)

Habitat

Deciduous forests, pampas, coniferous forest, subarctic tundra, mangrove swamp forest, fresh and saltwater marshes, semiarid grasslands, shrubsteppe, prairie, mixed forest, tropical rainforest, mountainous areas, rocky coasts, cacti deserts, mesquite, sagebrush, paloverde; altitude 2,100 m (6,900 ft)

Range

Mackenzie Mountains, Anticosti Island, northern Manitoba, Fort Chimo, Okak, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Fort Chimo, Keewatin, Tierra del Fuego, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala, Manitoba

Diet

BIRDS:

Ring-necked pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, greater sage-grouse, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, northern bobwhite, spruce grouse, common peafowl, jacanas, avocets, waterfowls, sandpipers, American coot, grebes, alcids, plovers, oystercatchers, terns, gulls, rails, shorebirds, grey partridge, mallard, passerines, black rail, eared grebes, trumpeter swans, brown pelicans, northern pintails, American white pelicans, great blue herons, American white pelicans, mute swan, Canada geese, snow goose, sandhill cranes, rock pigeons, downy woodpecker, greater roadrunner, ivory-billed woodpecker, tyrant flycatchers, cardinals, chickadees, kingfisher, nightjars, nighthawks, wrens, sparrows, warblers, ruby-crowned kinglets, European starling, thrushes, American crow, blue-gray gnatcatcher, mimids, ravens

OTHER PREY

Eastern fox squirrel, invertebrates, rodents, eastern cottontail, shrews, black-tailed jackrabbit, New World mice, North America deer mice, woodland voles, snowshoe hare, pocket gophers, pocket mice, kangaroo rats, Merriam’s kangaroo rats, hispid cotton rat, Great Basin pocket mouse, giant kangaroo rat, gerbils, Eurasian eagle owl, woodrats, desert woodrat, Allegheny woodrat, gray-collared chipmunk, North American porcupine, golden mouse, jumping mice, northern pygmy mouse, red-backed voles, hoary marmot, mountain cottontail, grouse, ducks, northern pocket gophers, white-tailed jackrabbit, white-eared opossum, least shrew, dwarf fat-tailed mouse opossum, Virginia opossum, nine-banded armadillo, Mexican free-tailed bats, black-footed ferret, striped skunk, night snakes, common king snakes, American alligators, prairie rattlesnakes, loggerhead turtles, toads, salamanders, bullheads, goldfish, dace, catfish, eels, crayfish, worms, water bugs, katydids, beetles, grasshoppers, Jerusalem crickets, bullheads, blue gill, black rat snakes, garter snakes, sunfish, chub, scorpions, spiders, crabs, loons, mergansers

great horned owl
Great Horned Owl’s nest ©magnusonkimball.photoshelter.com

Subspecies

Number of Eggs

1 – 6 eggs

Eggs Size

  • LENGTH: 4 to 56.2 mm (2.10 to 2.21 in)
  • WIDTH: 7 to 47.4 mm (1.72 to 1.87 in)

Breeding Season

October to December

Incubation Period

28 to 37 days

Nestling Period

35 to 42 days

Nest

HEIGHT: 4.5 to 22 m (15 to 72 ft)

Fledging Period

70 to 84 days

Sexual Maturity

2 years

Population

Unknown

Lifespan

  • 13 years (wild)
  • 38 years (captivity)

Speed

65 km/h (40 mph)

Baby Name

Owlet

Home Range

16 sq km (6.2 sq mi)

Group Size

Unknown

Predators

Red-tailed hawks, , American kestrels, peregrine falcons, prairie falcons, Hen harriers, northern goshawks, Cooper’s hawks, common ravens, Swainson’s hawks, ferruginous hawks

Sounds

ho-ho-hoo hoo hoo, bu-bubu booh, who-hoo-ho-oo or who-ho-o-o, whoo-hoo-o-o, whoo, krrooo-ooo, wha-a-a-a-ah, meee-owwwwww

Behavior

Nocturnal

Conservation Status

Least Concern