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The Great Horned Owl

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The Great Horned Owl

Post by Guest on Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:16 pm

The Great Horned Owl


General Information;

Type: Bird
Diet: Carnivore
Size: Body, 18 to 25 in (46 to 63 cm); Wingspan, 3.3 to 4.8 ft (1 to 1.5 m)
Weight: 2 to 5.5 lbs (1 to 2.5 kg)
Scientific Classification: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class; Aves, Order: Stringiformes, Family: Strigidae
Conservation Status:

Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

# Great Horned Owl Range

The Great Horned Owl, also known as the Tiger Owl, is a large owl native to the Americas and is the most common owl of the Americas, easily recognizable because of the feather tufts on its head. These "plumicorns" resemble horns or, to some, catlike ears. It is an adaptable bird with a vast range and is the most widely distributed true owl in the Americas. They are at home in suburbia as well as in woods and farmlands. Northern populations migrate in winter, but most live permanently in more temperate climes.
Physical Features;
Great Horned Owls range in length from 18–25 in (46–63 cm) and have a wingspan of 40-57 in (101–145 cm). Females are larger than males, an average adult being 22 in (55 cm) long with a 49 in (124 cm) wingspan and weighing about 3.1 lbs (1400 g). Depending on subspecies, Great Horned Owls can weigh from 0.72 to 2.55 kg (1.6 to 5.6 lb). Adults have large ear tufts, a reddish, brown or gray face and a white patch on the throat. The iris is yellow, except the amber-eyed South American Great Horned Owl. Its "horns" are neither ears nor horns, simply tufts of feathers. The underparts are light with brown barring; the upper parts are mottled brown. The legs and feet are covered in feathers up to the talons. There are individual and regional variations in color; birds from the sub-Arctic are a washed-out, light-buff color, while those from Central America can be a dark chocolate brown. Great Horned Owls can be easily confused with the Magellanic Horned Owl and other eagle-owls.
Mental Features;
These Owls are powerful birds and fiercely protective parents. They have even been known to attack humans who wander too close to their young. Like most owls, Great Horned Owls have keen hearing and keen vision in low light, both adaptations for hunting at night. These aggressive and powerful hunters most commonly use a sit-and-wait approach, watching from a perch and swooping down on passing prey to seize it with their talons.
Like other owls, these birds have an incredible digestive system. They sometimes swallow their prey whole and later regurgitate pellets composed of bone, fur, and the other unwanted parts of their meal. Owls are efficient nighttime hunters that strike from above, and use their powerful talons to kill and carry animals several times heavier than themselves. The predominant prey group are small to medium-sized mammals such as hares, rabbits, juvenile raccoons, rats, squirrels, mice, moles, voles, shrews, bats, armadillos, muskrats, weasels and gerbils. It is even a natural predator of prey two to three times heavier than itself such as porcupines, marmots and skunks. Birds also comprise a large portion of a Great Horned Owl's diet, ranging in size from kinglets to Great Blue Herons. Waterbirds, especially coots and ducks, are hunted; even raptors, up to the size of Red-tailed Hawk and Snowy Owls, are sometimes taken. Regular avian prey includes woodpeckers, grouse, crows, pigeons, herons, gulls, quail, turkey and various passerines. Reptiles (to the size of young American alligators), amphibians, fish, crustaceans and even insects are only occasional prey. In addition, the Great Horned Owl will predate on domesticated cats and small or young dogs.
Wolf vs. Great Horned Owl;
Great Horned owls do not pose as much of a threat to wolves, particularly since these owls tend to be nocturnal - thus it would be rare for them to have an encounter with a wolf. However, considering these animals are fiercely protective parents off their offspring, it is likely that if a wolf were to go too close to the offspring, the parents would attack the wolf directly - using their talons and beaks whilst attacking.
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