Great Horned Owl

photo by Phil Swanson

Bubo virginianus
L 22″ (56 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Deep, resonant “hoo, hoo-hoo-hoo,&rdqupo hoo,” second and third hoots are often short and rapid.

Description: Sexes similar. Large, bulky owl. Mottled gray-brown above; fine dark gray horizontal barring below; white throat; yellow eyes; and large ear tufts set wide apart.

Behavior: Chiefly nocturnal, and can take prey as large as skunks and grouse.

Bird Map
Habitat: Highly adaptable. Occurs in a variety of habitats from dense forests to urban areas to farm woodlands. Can also be found in non-wooded areas such as rocky canyons and gullies.

Where in Nebraska: Uncommon permanent resident across the state. Most common along heavily wooded river valleys and the Pine Ridge area. Also a regular breeder and migrant.

Fun Facts: Great Horned Owls are the largest owls in Nebraska and the their favorite pray are skunks.

Great Horned Owl - photo by Phil Swanson nesting Great Horned Owl - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)