North American Great Horned Owl

Latin Name Bubo virginianus
Class Aves
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae
IUCN status Least concern
Habitat Grasslands, deserts, wetlands, forests,urban areas
Distribution From the Artic south throughout North America

General Information

Long, ear-like tufts, a yellow eyed stare and a deep hooting voice it is the classic owl of children’s stories.

The Great Horned Owl is a powerful, nocturnal predator and will hunt species larger than itself but its main prey is small mammals (raccoons, rabbits), birds and reptiles.

They nest in tree hollows, caves or abandoned nests and the monogamous pair have 1 to 5 eggs. These owls are fiercely protective of their nests and have been known to attack humans who venture too close to the nest.

Fun Fact

The male is smaller than the female and has a softer hoot.

Keeper Notes

Our pair are both re-homed pets, and we know very little of their history.

We took them into our care when the park opened in 1997. This owl has been recorded to live an incredible 28 years in the wild but the prize goes to a female at San Fransisco Zoo who reached 50 years old in 2012!