Bird Introductions – Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl Photo by Scott Bourne

The great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) is also called the Tiger Owl or the Hoot Owl.

They are fierce predators and can even take other raptors as prey.

Even though the female is bigger than her mate, the male has a bigger voice box and a deeper voice. They often call together, but with audible differences in pitch.

Nature has designed this bird so that its feathers are even quiet. In flight, it is nearly silent and this makes sure that their approach doesn’t alert their intended prey.

Like all owls, they have amazing vision but this particular species also has amazing hearing due to the shape of the facial disc.

The great horned owl is the most common owl of the Americas, easily recognizable because of the feather tufts on its head. These “plumicorns” resemble horns or ears. Many people mistake them for ears. Most researchers believe these tufts are used to help with identification or to show signs of displeasure or alarm.

These nocturnal animals are most easily heard and not seen – after sunset, or just before dawn, they can often be heard vocalizing with their well known series of “Hoo H’hoos!”


If you’d like to show your appreciation for this site, please consider the purchase of prints or gifts featuring Scott’s bird art, visit scottbourne.photos for more information.

Bird Introductions

Scott Bourne View All →

Scott Bourne is an Olympus Visionary, a professional bird/wildlife photographer, author and lecturer who specializes in birds. He is a pioneer in digital photography and was named one of the “30 most influential photographers on the Web” by Huffington Post. His photographic experience spans four decades and his bird/wildlife images have been published in more than 200 magazines and periodicals. He is also a Signed Master at Studio of Masters in China.

Scott has been a founder, co-founder, advisor or early stage investor in several technology companies such as NetRadio, Photofocus, and ViewBug.

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