About The Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl
Bubo virginianus
18 to 25 inches
2 to 5.5 pounds
3.3 to 4.8 feet




Great Horned Owls can be found all across North America, usually gravitating towards woodlands, swamps, orchards, and agricultural areas. They have been found in a wide variety of deciduous, coniferous or mixed forests. Their territory usually includes some open areas such as fields, wetlands, pastures, or croplands as well as a forested area.
Great Horned Owls are also fairly common in wooded parks, suburban area, and even cities.



Great Horned Owls have the most diverse diet of all North American raptors. Their prey range in size from small field mice to larger animals such as hares and skunks and they have been known to supplement their diet with reptiles, insects, and fish.


Most commonly hunting at night, the Great Horned Owls spot their prey from a perch and pursue it from the air. They may also walk along the ground to stalk smaller prey around bushes or other obstacles.
Great Horned Owls typically nest in trees. Most of the time adopting a nest that was built by another species. They may also use deserted buildings, cliff ledges, or even human-made platforms.
The Great Horned Owl's nest often consists of sticks and can vary widely in size, depending on which species originally built the nest. They may then line the nest with shreds of bark, leaves, downy feathers plucked from their own breast, fur/feathers from their prey, or trampled pellets. Since the nests deteriorate over the course of the breeding season, they are rarely reused in later years.

Cool Facts

  • When clenched, a Great Horned Owl’s strong talons require a force of approximately 28 pounds to open.
  • Even though the female Great Horned Owl is larger than the male, the male has a larger voice box and a deeper voice.
  • The Great Horned Owl's short, wide wingspan allows them to strategically maneuver among the trees of the forest.