(Great Horned Owl)
18-25" (46-64 cm). Large owl with ear tufts set wide apart. Mottled gray-brown above with closely spaced, fine dark gray horizontal barring below. Conspicuous white throat bib below a tawny face.
Similar Species- Long-eared Owl
A deeply resonant hooting, usually uttered 5-6 times.
Breeds from western and central Alaska, east to southern Keewatin and Labrador, and south to southern South America. Winters generally throughout breeding range. Northernmost populations are partially migratory, wintering south to southern Canada and northern United States. Species is most common and widely distributed owl in Idaho.
Found in various moist or arid forested habitats, from lowland forests (deciduous or evergreen) to open temperate woodlands, including second-growth forests, swamps, orchards, riverine forests, brushy hillsides, and desert.
Broad diet; eats mainly mammals (commonly mouse to rabbit size), and small to large birds (including hawks and waterfowl) but also amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. Idaho study found voles and deer mice were main food items. Parents provide about 300 g of food per day, per nestling.
Hunts from perch; captures prey on ground. Caches food. Utilizes abandoned stick nest in tree, cliff ledge, or man- made platform. Productivity peaks with snowshoe hare population in northern range. Size of home range varies seasonally and geographically. density varies, but is usually about 1 pair/5-21 km2. Idaho study found density of 1.7 owls/10 km2; juvenile survival was 1.8/nest.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
Frounfelker, C.R. 1977. Prey selection of the great horned owl with reference to habitat and prey availability. M.S. Thesis, Univ. Idaho, Moscow. 62pp.