Tiger owl, Hoot owl
The Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) is a large owl native to the Americas. It is an extremely adaptable bird with a vast range and is the most widely distributed true owl in the Americas. The Great horned owl is one of the earliest nesting birds in North America, often laying eggs weeks or even months before other raptorial birds.
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
Gliding flight is heavier-than-air flight without the use of thrust and is employed by gliding animals. Birds in particular use gliding flight to m...
Ambush predators are carnivorous animals that capture or trap prey by stealth, luring, or by (typically instinctive) strategies utilizing an elemen...
Monogamy is a form of relationship in which both the male and the female has only one partner. This pair may cohabitate in an area or territory for...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
CaCanada Province Birds
The Great horned owl is a round-faced bird with a distinctive horn-shaped feather tuft on the crown of its head, which is darker than the rest of its head, promoting the overall camouflage. The owl possesses powerful, solid legs, feet, and claws. The Great horned owl has binocular vision due to its eyes, facing forward. The eyes of the horned owl are various shades of yellow. This bird can also be distinguished by the white colored patch on its throat. Black and brown stripes extend all over the white underbelly. The bill of the bird is black, surrounded by white or tan colored plumage. The plumage on their back is darker, covered with brown and black markings.
This owl is native to the Americas with its range, covering the greater part of North America, stretching to Central America, and reaching South America. The Great horned owl occurs primarily in woodlands and open fields, scattered throughout its range. However, the species can also be found in mangroves, grasslands, swampy and marshy areas as well as deserts. In addition, this bird occasionally inhabits human settlements, found throughout rural and urban areas.
These birds are solitary animals, socializing only for nesting. They usually roost by day in protected places such as a tree limb or a recess in a rock. Great horned owls are efficient nighttime hunters, though they are known to hunt in the daytime as well. Horned owls are non-migratory, remaining within the same area throughout the year. Some individuals may become "territorial floaters", not having a certain territory and constantly traveling through territories of other owls. These birds use hooting as a form of communication. Through hooting, they can search for mates during the mating season as well as set up territorial dominance.
Great horned owls are carnivorous, feeding mainly upon terrestrial vertebrates. Typically, their preferred prey is the Cottontail rabbit. However, their diet consists of a wide variety of animal species, including shrews, jackrabbits, squirrels, muskrats, mice, domestic cats, scorpions, frogs, snakes, weasels, skunks, pocket gophers, bats, beetles, and grasshoppers. They will also consume both small and large birds such as sparrows, juncos, grouse, wild ducks, and pheasants. In addition, great horned owls can even eat other owls on occasion.
Great horned owls have a monogamous mating system and form long-lasting pair bonds. Typically, the mated pairs are territorial, driving away other pairs from their territory in order to have full access to prey. By the mating season, the birds begin hooting with increased intensity, looking for mates. Female owls hoot only during this period while males normally hoot all year round. Breeding season takes place from November to April. The mating pair finds a nest, which is usually one, abandoned by a squirrel or another bird, including a Great horned owl. The female may lay up to 6 eggs with an average of 2-3. Both parents take part in the incubation for 30-35 days. After hatching, both parents provide the chicks with food. Young fledge by 6-9 weeks old, becoming independent at the age of 5-10 weeks. Reproductive maturity is achieved between 1 and 3 years of age.
One of the major concerns is poisoning from pesticides and rodenticides, which farmers usually use in agricultural areas. Also, Great horned owls occasionally collide with electric wires as well as get into road accidents.
Currently, these birds are fairly widespread all over the area of their habitat. The overall estimated population of these owls in North and South America is about 5,300,000 individuals. Great horned owls are classified on the IUCN Red List as a species of Least Concern (LC) with a stable population.
Due to preying upon various small mammals, Great horned owls control the populations of these species, thus preventing the possible spread of disease or excessive grazing throughout the range, and maintaining the health of the ecosystem.