Great Horned Owl Call – What Does a Great Horned Owl Sound Like?

Great horned owls—the most aggressive owls in North America primarily recognized by their tufts of hairs visible right at the top of their head. Just like their uncanny disposition the great horned owl calls unique too. It doesn’t always sound like hoo-hoo like most other owl species. It has got rich collection of voices each of which depends on the situation as well as the mood of the bird. The great horned owl is also called hoot owl.

What Does a Great Horned Owl Sound Like? – Great Horned Owl Sounds and Noise

what does a great horned owl sound like
Young great Horned owl.

Great Horned Owl Call when they Advertise Territories

Like African wild dogs, the great horned owl also calls hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo especially when they claim territories. These sounds will probably communicate to their counterparts the precise intention of the owl.

The territorial calls sound like soft hoots but probably with broken rhythm. The breeding pair is also thought to produce numerous calls. The female leads the voice by producing high-pitched sounds and she also utters first while the male generates low-pitched call.

When Do Great Horned Owls Scream?

Adult owls rarely utter piercing screams but the juveniles are highly expressive. Young great horned owl will scream to the top of their lungs particularly when they are starving. Adult owls will only scream when there’s an intruder. Great horned owls actively defend their nest.

The great horned owl utters a range of different sounds such as shrieks, whistles, hisses, cries, coos, and barks. The sound they produce by snapping their bills is probably the stressful one. When a predator attempts to get close to the owlets the parents snap their bills.

If an owl is just too hungry or a female defends her nest then they will probably utter eerie shriek that pierces through the woods in the middle of the night. The owl’s call also includes pop, hiss, and meow.

Great Horned Owl Hooting Calls

As is typical of an owl’s call, the great horned owl utters hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo in a series of hoots. These hoots have longer notes at the beginning but as they proceed the notes get shorter. The pair hoots more like a dove but they can also generate dog-barking sound one that alarms their counterparts.

Can you Mimic the Sound of a Great Horned Owl Hoot?

Yes, you sure can! However, you’ll have to spend a reasonable amount of time in the woods trying to catch up with the owl’s notes. Try to memorize the groans, grunts, or hoo-hoo sounds of a great horned owl so you could reproduce them in a similar fashion.

Nearly all owl species are nocturnal, so as the great horned owl. Therefore, you may begin calling around the early hours of dusk. The chances are that the great horned owl may you call you back. But if the owl doesn’t respond to your call straightaway then you must shut up. You don’t have to push them. At times, they do get irritated from other birds.

The spring season is probably the mating season for owls so their calls would be slightly on different notes too.

Things to Consider before Uttering the Great Horned Owl Hooting

  1. If you repeatedly produce hooting calls you may end up calling great horned owl’s predators too. The owl’s predators will get to know the precise location of owls. The parents will probably get worried about their young.
  2. By producing owl-like sounds you’re actually giving them false hopes for finding a mate.
  3. Some of the young owls may get too close to you leaving their parents behind. But unlike many other owls great horned owls are highly talkative and they will be noisy all night long.

What Does a Great Horned Owl Sound Like? – Video

Great horned owls have lately caught my attention partly by their outstanding physical features and nesting behavior, but mostly due to the range of sounds they utter on a moonlit night. It was the hooting sound of a great horned owl that inspired me.