The Canadian Peregrine Foundation

Great Horned Owl
(Bubo virginianus)

(click on any photos / drawings to enlarge)


(Photos by Marcel Gahbauer)

Size: 45-63 cm (similar to Red-tailed Hawk).   Description: Large owl with ear tufts, body ranging from light brown to dark brown with dark horizontal bars across the belly, and a white throat.   Range: Found in every province and territory throughout the year.   Habitat: Most often found in wooded areas, but very adaptable, occurring everywhere from swamps to deserts. Common within many cities.   Nest: Abandoned bird nests, tree cavities, or stumps. Lines nest with down feathers.   Voice: Low hooting in series of 4-8 at a time, sometimes described as "whoo, whoo-whoo, whoo, whooooo".    Diet: Mostly small mammals, some birds. One of the few regular predators of skunks. Can hunt prey as large as porcupines, great blue herons, and hawks.   Behaviour: Mostly nocturnal but often active during daylight too, especially during breeding season.   Notes: Very aggressive and strong. Most widespread breeding owl in Canada.
Two photos of the western species of the Great Horned Owl taken in Southeastern Saskatchewan. (photos by Alvin Nixon)



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