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Desert Wildlife -
Great Horned OwlBubo virginianus
A very large owl with adults posessing large ear tufts, a reddish face, a white patch on the
throat and yellow eyes. The ear tufts are not actually ears, but just 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.
Great Horned Owl
Family: Strigidae Order: Strigiformes Class: Aves
DISTRIBUTION, ABUNDANCE, AND SEASONALITY
A common, permanent resident throughout the state from sea level to 2100 m (0-7000 ft),
occasionally to 3200 m (10,500 ft). Exploits a variety of forests with meadows and other
openings, extending from valley foothill hardwood to mixed conifer habitats. Commonly feeds
and breeds in riparian, conifer, chaparral, and
The Great horned owl is a raptor.
For more information on raptors, click here.
Bartholomew, G. A., and T. J. Cade. 1963. The water economy of land birds. Auk 80:504- 539.
Bent, A. C. 1938. Life histories of North American birds of prey. Part 2. U.S. Natl. Mus. Bull. 170. 482pp.
Call, M. W. 1978. Nesting habits and survey techniques for common western raptors. U. S. Dep. Inter., Bur. Land Manage., Portland OR. Tech. Note No. 316. 115pp.
Craighead, J. J., and F. C. Craighead, Jr. 1956. Hawks, owls and wildlife. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, PA. 443pp.
Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook. Simon and Schuster, New York. 785pp.
Fitch, H. S. 1947. Predation by owls in the sierran foothills of California. Condor 49:137-151.
Fitch, H. S. 1958. Home ranges, territories, and seasonal movements of vertebrates of the Natural History Reservation. Univ. Kans., Lawrence. Publ. Mus. Nat. Hist. 11:63- 326.
Grinnell, J., and A. H. Miller. 1944. The distribution of the birds of California. Pac. Coast Avifauna No. 27. 608pp.
Guiguet, C. J. 1960. The Birds of British Columbia (7). The owls. Brit. Col. Prov. Mus., Vancouver. Handb. No. 18. 62pp.
Harrison, C. 1978. A field guide to the nests, eggs and nestlings of north American birds. W. Collins Sons and Co., Cleveland, OH. 416pp.
Hoechlin, D. R. 1976. Development of golden eaglets in southern California. West. Birds 7:137-152.
Karalus, K. E., A. W. Eckert. 1974. The owls of North America. Doubleday Co., Garden City NY. 278pp.
Marti, C. D. 1974. Feeding ecology of four sympatric owls. Condor 76:45-61.
Murray, G. A. 1976. Geographic variation in the clutch size of seven owl species. Auk 93:602-613.
Wiley, J. W. 1975b. Relationships of nesting hawks with great horned owl. Auk 92:157-159.
California Department of Fish and Game.
Great Horned Owl
Raptor - Bird of Prey
Click here for more information on strigiformes (nocturnal birds of prey).