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GREAT HORNED OWL

GREAT HORNED OWLBubo virginianus

Conservation Status: Low Risk / Least Concern

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CLASS

Aves

ORDER

Strigiformes

FAMILY

Strigidae

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General Characteristics:

Color: 

Rust-colored facial disc; large, erect ear tufts; yellow eyes; white chin and throat; upperparts are grayish to gray-brown, mottled, and barred; underparts are brownish with a reddish tinge, also mottled; fully feathered legs and feet are buff to tawny 

Size:

20 – 23.6 inches 

Weight:

Female 2.2 – 5.5 pounds; Male 1.5 – 3.2 pounds

Average Lifespan: 

13 years

Captive Lifespan:

29 years

Distribution:

United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and parts of South America

Habitat:

Every type of woodland, farmland, desert with scrub, mountainous areas, mangroves, and urban areas

Reproduction:

Mating: 

December – July

Gestation/Incubation:

28 – 30 days

Litter/Clutch Size:

1-3 eggs

Mature: 

Remain in nest 35 – 45 days; cared for by parents up to 5 months

Diet:

Birds, mammals, fish, snakes, insects, other owls

Behavior:

Mainly resident and territorial. Makes deep hooting calls to announce its presence. Hunts mostly at dusk or during the night.

Teaching Facts:

1. Great horned owls hunt from a perch, making shallow, gliding drops to its prey.

2. These owls utilize old nests of other large birds, or nest in hollows in trees and sometimes in caves or among tree roots.