Great Horned Owl

The great horned owl is a very adaptable bird that can live from the Arctic to South America. This owl is generally solitary but does form a monogamous pair during mating season. After the offspring are fledged, the bonded pair will live in adjacent territories. The great horned owl is a very adept nighttime hunter. The wings have soft tipped feathers that allow for a quiet flight—great for surprising prey.

Great Horned Owl

Bubo virginianus

Habitat: Throughout North and South America in boreal forest, secondary growth woodlands and agricultural areas

Diet in the wild: Small mammals and some small birds

Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Bird of prey diet, turkey neck and mice

Size: Wingspans between 3.3-4.8 feet; weight of 2-5.5 pounds

Family: Both parents help build a nest in a hollow tree, or may take a former hawk or squirrel nest to raise young

Status: Least Concern

Did you know? When clenched, a great horned owl’s strong talons require a force of 28 pounds to open. This deadly grip can sever the spine of large prey

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