Great Horned Owl

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Great Horned Owl
Coastal Great Horned Owl, B. v. saturatus
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Bubo
Species: B. virginianus

The Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) is the largest owl in North America. It is sometimes called the cat owl.

This widespread bird of prey lives in mountains, grasslands, conifer forests, deserts, chapparals, and many other habitats in North and South America. Its call is a far-carrying hoot.

Description[change | edit source]

This owl is 18 to 25 inches (46-64 cm) long and has a wing span of 52 to 55 inches (1.3-1.4 m); its weight averages about 3 pounds (1.5 kg).

The feathers of the Horned Owl are gray to brown to buff to black. There is a patch of white feathers on the brown chest (called a "gular"). The eyes are yellow with round black pupils.

Diet[change | edit source]

The Great Horned Owl hunts and eats mammals (like rabbits, woodchucks, mice, rats, and squirrels), birds (ducks, quail, and geese), and fish.

The owl is at the top of the food web; it has no major predators. It sometimes eats its prey whole and later regurgitates the bones, fur, and feathers in pellets.