Did You Know? 17 Incredible Great Horned Owl Facts

One of the most fascinating white great horned owl facts is that they have better depth perception than humans.

The great horned owl, known also as the tiger owl, is one of the larger birds native to South and North America. These large birds are similar to hawks and are known for their vast range and are capable of living in various wildlife habitats such as deserts and forests across different seasons such as summer and winter. Due to their range are considered the most widely distributed true owl across Central, North, and South America.

These red tailed birds are known to hunt and prey on whole wildlife such as rabbits, mice, hare, and mice. The birds also hunt and prey on some other invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, and birds as they are part of their food as well. These birds are often compared to other birds such as the Eurasian eagle owl. These birds also happen to be one of North America's earliest nesting birds. They also depend on the nest made by other birds. They make the nest their own after their previous wildlife inhabitants abandon the nest.

In this article, we'll take you through the most interesting great horned owl facts for kids. From the great horned owl range across summer and winter, great horned owl symbolism, great horned owl wingspan to great horned owl diet to great horned owl habitat and range to its iconic tufts made of feathers - you'll get to know it all here. For more interesting facts-based articles on Kidadl, check out these owl facts and elf owl facts.

Great Horned Owl

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Birds and mammals mostly: rodents, scorpions, frogs, rabbits, squirrels, prairie dogs, house cats, chipmunks, pigeons, duck, geese, grouse

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

1.9-5.5 lb (0.9-2.4 kg)

How long are they?

17.7-25 in (45-63.5 cm)

How tall are they?

35.8-59.8 in (91-152 cm)

What do they look like?

Metal gray bills, and dark brown plumage

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Pesticides, anticoagulant rodenticides, vehicle collision, habitat loss

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Plains, forests, deserts, cliff ledges, and parks


Central, South, and North America





Scientific Name

Bubo virginianus





Great Horned Owl Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a great horned owl?

The great horned owl is a bird.

What class of animal does a great horned belong to?

The great horned owl belongs to the class of animals called birds.

How many great horned owls are there in the world?

According to Partners in Flight, the global breeding population of great horned owls is about six million.

Where does a great horned owl live?

They are found in a variety of places like dense woods, deserts, forests, farms, trees within parks. They are highly abundant when you consider the wildlife across North and South America.

What is a great horned owl's habitat?

The great horned owl is among the world's most versatile owls or even bird species as far as living space is concerned. They can visit and relocate to trees that line all way of deciduous, coniferous, and blended forest and backwoods, tropical rainforests, pampas, grassland, rugged zones, deserts, subarctic tundra, rough drifts, mangrove swamp timberland, and some metropolitan areas. Their habitats also change from the summer to the winter, as they move from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere when it starts to get cold. They are as comfortable on the ground as they are in the air.

Who do great horned owls live with?

They usually live with partners in trees and on the ground.

How long does a great horned owl live?

As per the published report, they have been found to live for as long as 28 years.

How do they reproduce?

January and early February are the breeding season for the great horned owl. The male and female use the great horned owl mating call to one another during mating followed by nesting in a tree typically in a forest. They usually use the abandoned nests of different birds, typically hawks or falcons, or crows as the great horned owl nest. The female great horned owl lays two to three eggs in the nests. She usually raises one family every year. Both the male and female contribute to hatch the eggs and provide food to the young owlets. The eggs incubate in around a month, following which the young owlets are born.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the great horned owl is given as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.

Great Horned Owl Fun Facts

What do great horned owls look like?

The great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) has a barrel-like shape with a robust body with a lot of feathers. Although they don’t have any horns, it has got its name from the horn-like tufts made of great horned owl feathers located on top of its head. These tufts of feathers are referred to as ‘plumicorns’. The bills of great horn owl are very strong with a metal-gray color. They have dark brown or mottled brown colored plumage and the feathers are marked with horizontal markings.

The great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) is a bird species that's known for its horn-like tufts that are made of its feathers.

How cute are they?

The great horned owl face looks very cute from a distance, especially the young ones when resting or sleeping on the tree branch.

How do they communicate?

Great horned owls promote their regions with profound, delicate hoots. These great horned owl sounds are usually mating calls. The breeding male and female pair may play out a duet harmony of exchanging calls, with the female's voice conspicuously higher in pitch than that of the male's. Other great horned owl calls that are well known include the great horned owl screech.

How big is a great horned owl?

The adult great horned owl size is 17.7-25 in (45-63.5 cm), similar to a duck. Females are 10-20% larger than males.

How fast can a great horned owl fly?

In level flight, great horned owls can fly at rates of in excess of 40 mph (64.3 kph) in level flight.

How much does a great horned owl weigh?

They weigh in the range of 1.9-5.5 lb (0.9-2.4 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no different names for male and female great horned owls.

What would you call a baby great horned owl?

Like any other baby owl, a young and juvenile great horned owl chick is simply called an owlet.

What do they eat?

Their diet consists of a very large platter of prey and food options including other birds such as raptors and falcons. They prey on whole raptors such as Ospreys, Falcons like Peregrine, and Prairie Falcons. Other food includes rodents, scorpions, frogs, rabbits, squirrels, birds like pigeons, ducks, geese, grouse, some insects.

Are they dangerous?

Owls of numerous types have been known to assault individuals while guarding their young in their nests, their mates, or their regions. Often targets incorporate clueless joggers and climbers on the ground.

Would they make a good pet?

Numerous individuals figure it is really nice to have an owl for a pet, however, a couple of individuals have a thorough understanding of what is required for proper care of the species. Besides very few exceptions, it is not legal in many nations to keep owls as pets. A few nations issue grants to people to keep owls after proper infrastructure and training are attained by the applicant. The United States doesn't permit general people to keep them as pets. But competent persons or authorities may be given permission for processes like rehabilitation, breeding.

Did you know...

Although the great horned owl's eyes don't revolve or move in their eye sockets, they are capable of turning their heads in excess of 180 degrees to have a larger viewing of the surrounding.

What does a great horned owl sound like?

Great horned owls have a huge variety of sounds, going from profound thriving hoots to high-pitched yells. The male's resounding great horned owl call "hoo-hoo hoooooo hoo-hoo" can be heard more than a few kilometers during a silent night. Both sexes are known for the great horned owl hoot, yet males have a smaller pitch volume than females.

Do great horned owls eat other owls?

Yes, the great horned owls are known to eat other owls. They can also kill domestic cats that are three times their weight. They attack humans when threatened and are the only bird to have killed a human.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these red owl facts and burrowing owl facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our owl coloring pages.



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