Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus

Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
The magisterial Great Horned Owl gets its name from its large, conspicuous ear tufts, which it raises in moments of great excitement. These tufts are not ears at all; the powerful ears of the Great Horned Owl are hidden beneath feathers on the side of the head. Like most other owls, this species flies absolutely silently; its stealth is made possible by the loose, ragged outer edges of the flight feathers, through which the air flows without the telltale rushing sound produced by most birds in flight.

Identification 18-25". Large with widely spaced ear tufts. Dark gray-brown with fine whitish mottling above; buff-white below, with dark brown barring and white throat. Eyes bright yellow.

Voice A deep, sonorous, resonant series of hoots: hoo, hoo-koo-hoo, hoo, hoo; or hooo, hoo-hoo, hoooo, hoooo.

Habitat Forests, open country, swamps, deserts, and even large city parks.

Range Throughout North America; usually does not migrate.

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