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Merlin Bird ID

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    Great Horned Owl

    Silhouette OwlsOwls

    Great Horned Owl

    Bubo virginianus
    • ORDER: Strigiformes
    • FAMILY: Strigidae
    Basic Description

    With its long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow-eyed stare, and deep hooting voice, the Great Horned Owl is the quintessential owl of storybooks. This powerful predator can take down birds and mammals even larger than itself, but it also dines on daintier fare such as tiny scorpions, mice, and frogs. It’s one of the most common owls in North America, equally at home in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and almost any other semi-open habitat between the Arctic and the tropics.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Great Horned OwlRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps
    Other Names
    • Búho Cornudo (Spanish)
    • Grand-duc d'Amérique (French)

    Backyard Tips

    Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.

    • Cool Facts