The Great Horned Owl

Bubo virginianus - Great Horned Owl

Family - Strigidae

Order - Strigiformes

Wingspan - Up to 145 centimeters

Length - Up to 2 feet

Recognition - Body is covered with markings of various shades of brown. Head has two points resembling horns, hence the common name.

Habitat - Forests and farmland

Behavior - Carnivore

Residency - North and South America

Life Span - Up to 10 years

Of Special Note - The great horned owl is perhaps the best known owl in existence. Its unique appearance and size are the likely causes for this recognition. It preys on small animals and birds, such as rats, mice, and smaller owls. At night, it will wait on a perch and look for prey, then swoop down on it, grabbing it in its talons.

The great horned owl has very good hearing and very sharp vision. The owl also has better depth of hearing, since its ears are not at equal heights or angles. The owl determines the distance and location of prey by moving its head until the sound is equally loud in each ear. They also have large eyes that are incapable of rotation. Instead, they are able to rotate their necks an astonishing 270 degrees in a fluid motion.

Sounds (mp3):

The Great Horned Owl hooting

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