Great Horned Owl Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    These are large, thick-bodied owls with two prominent feathered tufts on the head. The wings are broad and rounded. In flight, the rounded head and short bill combine to create a blunt-headed silhouette.

    Relative Size

    Slightly larger than a Red-tailed Hawk.

    Relative Sizebetween crow and goosebetween crow and goose
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 18.1-24.8 in (46-63 cm)
      • Weight: 32.1-88.2 oz (910-2500 g)
      • Wingspan: 39.8-57.1 in (101-145 cm)

Regional Differences

Great Horned Owls vary in color tone across their range: birds from the Pacific Northwest tend to be dark sooty; individuals across the Southwest are paler and grayer; and birds from subarctic Canada can be almost white.

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