Great Horned Owl

Bubo virginianus

The Great Horned Owl is a permanent resident of North Texas. In the fall and winter they become much more vocal which makes them easy to locate and identify. Our largest owl in the area with distinct feather tufts on the head. Known as the ‘Hoot” owl.

Species information:

Length: 23”
Wingspan: 45”
Weight: 3 – 4 lbs

Plumage: Chest is brown with black horizontal bars. Wings and tail can be brown to gray with black bars. Distinct discs around yellow eyes. Feather tufts on top of head.

Habitat: Found in wooded areas. In the evening can be seen perched on large branches preparing to hunt.

Flight: Perch and pounce hunters. Strong, consistent wing beats and the head facing forward looks flat.

Vocalization: A soft ‘who who-who who whooo’. Female voice is usually higher than male.

Food: Mammals up to rabbit and skunk.

Nesting: Usually uses old nests from Red-tailed hawks. Will nest in tree cavity or on rock ledge. Breeds in January here in Texas. Usually 2 – 3 eggs that hatch in about 32 days. Leave nest in 5 weeks but takes about 10 weeks before flying well. Will stay with adults for many months after learning to fly. There are 4 – 6 eggs that hatch in about 35 days. Young fledge in about 40 days.