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Basic Great Horned Owl Facts
- The great horned owls scientific name is Bubo virginianus.
- Great horned owl females are generally larger than males.
- These animals weight varies depending on the subspecies but ranges from 1.3 to 5.7 pounds (.6 to 2.6 kilograms).
- Length ranges from 17 to 25 inches (43 to 64 centimeters).
- Wingspan ranges from 36 to 60 inches (91 to 153 centimeters).
- The lifespan of great horned owl in the wild is approximately thirteen years. There lifespan in captivity increases significantly to an average of thirty eight years.
- The color of its feathers varies depending on the region where they live. In the boreal forests they tend to have a washed-out color.
Interesting Great Horned Owl Facts
- These animals live in a wide range of habitats. They can be found in forests (including boreal and deciduous forests), mountainous areas, swamps, and urban areas, just to name a few.
- The first written description of this animal was published in 1788 by a German naturalist named Johann Friedrich Gmelin in the 13th edition of Systema Naturae.
- The great horned owl is sometimes called cat owl, hoot owl, or winged tiger.
- These owls prey on a wide range of animals and birds. Its main prey in the boreal forest is snowshoe hares.
- The adults of this species practically have no predators. However they can be killed in fights with other great horned owls or other birds such as eagles. The greatest threat to them are humans and man-made objects such as buildings and power lines, both of which they have been known to fly into. Coyotes and foxes will eat great horned owl eggs and kill younger owls.
- It is generally active at night but sometimes may be seen in the early morning or late afternoon.
- They make a variety of sounds including hoots and high pitched shrieks.
Great Horned Owl SpeciesThere are numerous Subspecies of these owls including:
- Common Great Horned Owl
- South American Great Horned Owl
- Northeastern Great Horned Owl
- Northwestern Great Horned Owl
- Northern/Subarctic Great Horned Owl
- Californian Great Horned Owl
- North Andean Great Horned Owl
- Desert Great Horned Owl
- Coastal Great Horned Owl
- Baja California Great Horned Owl
- Central American Great Horned Owl
- Rocky Mountains Great Horned Owl
- Yucatan Great Horned Owl
What Makes a Great Horned Owl an Amazing Predator
- It has incredible binocular vision which enables it to spot prey even in dim light.
- This owls hearing is even more amazing than its sight. It is able to very accurately pinpoint the source of sounds. This is due the right ear being set higher on the head than the left ear and at a slight angle. By tilting or turning its head an owl can pinpoint the direction of where a sound, like a scurrying animal, is coming from.
- Their feet and talons are large and powerful. Their grip is stronger than a human (approximately 300 pounds per square inch). When grabbing their prey the victim is usually killed instantly by the sharp powerful talons.