Great Horned Owl

Category: Birds

The Great Horned Owl, also known as the Hoot Owl because of its distinctive sound, is a very prolific species, both in North America and across the globe. The Great Horned Owl is known for its distinctive voice, and its distinctive face which places emphasis on the eyes. The Great Horned Owl is a carnivore, and hunts its prey at night.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

Scientific & Common Names

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Aves

Order - Strigiformes

Family - Strigidae

Genus - Bubo

Species - B. virginianus

Common Names - Great Horned Owl, Tiger Owl, Hoot Owl


The Great Horned Owl is a medium-sized bird. It stands approximately 17 to 25 inches tall, with a wingspan of approximately three to five feet. This bird is known for its distinctive hooting call and rimmed eyes.


The Great Horned Owl lays between 2 and 18 eggs at a time. The Great Horned Owl will generally have between one and three broods per year. This owl is a monogamous bird, and both parents share in the child rearing duties. The birds stay close together during mating season and while their babies are young. They may roost separately at other times, but remain bonded unless one partner is killed.


The Great Horned Owl is a hunter; it requires lots of open land in which to hunt. This bird hunts primarily by sound, and not by sight. True to its name, this bird prefers to roost in barns, sheds, and other outbuildings. A cozy tree with a hole is also suitable for this bird. The Great Horned Owl eats small rodents, insects, and some plants. The Great Horned Owl is a nocturnal bird, and does traveling, hunting, and other activities under the cover of darkness.


The Great Horned Owl has a very high population count, and can be found in most of the country. Average life span for the Great Horned Owl is approximately 5 to 15 years when in the wild; this life span can be greater for those kept in captivity.

Present Status

The Great Horned Owl is very prolific in North America, and is not on any endangered species list. The Great Horned Owl can be found in a wide variety of places. One generally does not have to travel far to find one.