The great horned owl (Bubo virginanus) is probably the most widespread of North America owls. Thanks to its numerous adaptations the owl occurs widely throughout the America. The great horned owl is also known as tiger owl or hoot owl. It is thought to consume rodents, invertebrates, birds, small reptiles and mammals. The owl will make homes in a wide variety of habitats. If you like these facts maybe you’d be willing to read some more interesting facts about great horned owls.
Great Horned Owl Interesting Facts – Top 15 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know at all!
- Great horned owls are one of the heaviest owls. They are the second largest owls in North America but in South America great horned owls are the biggest. The heaviest owl ever recorded at 2,503 grams and that was of a female.
- Not only they are highly nocturnal, hoot owls live a sedentary lifestyle. During daytime great horned owls mostly spend time roosting in large trees where they are well camouflaged. Although they are active at dusk, owls do hunt before noon when they are extremely hungry.
- They have a variety of calls one that depends on the bird’s mood and the situation. The parents will utter low-pitched sounds like ho-ho-o-o, whoo-hoo-o-o, whoo but they are known to produce some strange sounds as well for instance wha-a-a-a-ah, a high-pitched ank, ank, ank; a weak, soft erk, erk.
- Adult owls have cat-like face so much so that sometimes the bird is also called ‘Cat Owl’. They have tufted horn-like feathers right at the top of their head but scientists probably don’t know what good they are if they have nothing to do with the owl’s hearing sense.
- The great horned owl has a huge appetite. Everything that moves, crawls, runs, swims, or even flies is most likely to fall prey to a great horned owl. It is a highly opportunistic animal but unlike other birds of prey the hoot owl is an ambush hunter.
- As is typical of owl, the great horned owl has excellent hearing sense and vision. Since the bird largely hunts at night it relies predominantly on its hearing sense to take on the prey. The owl’s ears are hidden underneath its soft feathers but these feathers do not seem to hinder the sound waves.
- Owls can’t see in darkness that is not say that they are blind. But in fact, they rely on their hearing sense more than any other sense to hunt animals at night. However, during daytime they will owe their hunting to their remarkable eyesight. Great horned owls have binocular field of vision.
- Scientists have named around 20 subspecies of great horned owls out of only 10 subspecies are confirmed and recognized.
- Females are 20% bigger than the males. Depending on the subspecies, adults reach the size of 43 to 64 cm with the maximum wingspan of 153 cm.
- Great horned owls are often get harassed by a large flock of ravens and crows because owls usually attack and eat them. Therefore, when crows grow in numbers they retaliate in a similar fashion.
- Studies suggest that almost 50% of owls could not reach maturity. Most of young owls die when they are about to leave the nest. The first flight isn’t always awkward, sometimes very awkward—it’s highly risky. During fledging, juvenile great horned owls fall from the tree and get killed.
- They are found in all over North America, South America and Central America. Great horned owls likely make homes in tropical rainforests, deciduous, coniferous forests, mangrove swamps, and mountainous areas. They are however absent from arctic treeless tundra where their closest relative, snow owl breeds.
- Great horned owls have cryptic plumage one that helps them in camouflaging. Plus, they don’t make the slightest sound while flying as their feathers are so built that the air breaks up when it strikes the bird’s wings.
- The great horned owl is most likely to hunt between 2030 and 0000 hours. They can even hunt in a moonless night but as I said it earlier, owls rely on their hearing sense to hunt prey.
- If the prey is small like rodents, the owl will swallow it all They aren’t even scared to take on a dangerous predator such as skunks which are known to spray their predators. However, the owl appears to be comfortable in handling skunks.