GREAT HORNED OWL

Great Horned Owl - Photo by Bob Gress
Photo by Bob Gress

 

Great Horned Owl
Bubo virginianus

Measurements:
Length:  20 - 24 inches
Wingspread:  53 - 56 inches
Weight:  3.1 - 3.6 pounds

  • Comments:   The great horned owl, commonly called the “hoot owl,” is the most aggressive and powerful owl in North America. It is named for the obvious feather tufts on top of its head. These feather “horns” are not ears. The ears are hidden below, and slightly behind the eyes. Vision is superb both day and night. Excellent vision, along with an acute auditory sense, makes locating prey a simple process. Like other owls, the eyes cannot move; they are fixed in the sockets. Fourteen neck bones allow the head to pivot 270 degrees or of a circle. It is the first of all birds to nest and lay eggs in Kansas. They are commonly sitting on eggs in February, occasionally in January.
  • Distribution:   This is the most widespread owl in North America. It is found in nearly all habitats except the arctic tundra. In Kansas, it nests statewide.
  • Food:   Probably no other raptor in North America has a diet as varied as the great horned owl. It will kill whatever is available, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects. With its poor sense of smell it is also willing to catch skunks.
  • For more info: see the GPNC species portrait for the Great Horned Owl.

Other Kansas Owls

EASTERN SCREECH OWL SNOWY OWL
SHORT-EARED OWL LONG-EARED OWL
BARN OWL NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL
BARRED OWL BURROWING OWL


Raptor's Roost
Text: Bob Gress and Vanessa Avara
Web Design: Jim Mason