Great Horned Owl (species: Asio otus) in US Lower 48 Birds (Gaia Guide)
Asio otus
Great Horned Owl

©Ján Svetlík: Asio otus

©allfr3d: Asio otus

©Michael Ransburg: Asio otus
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae
Genus Asio
Species Asio otus



Distinguishing features

It has erect blackish ear-tufts, which are positioned in the center of the head. The ear-tufts are used to make the owl appear larger to other owls while perched. The female is larger in size and darker in coloration than the male. Its brownish feathers are vertically streaked. Tarsus and toes are entirely feathered. Eye disks are characteristic in this species.


  • Up to 40 cm (Length of specimen)


  • Up to 100 cm



©Achim Raschka: Yellow: Breeding range; Green: Year-round range; Blue: Wintering range 1. Asio otus otus (Europe, Asia, NW Africa, Azores) 2.Asio otus canariensis (Canary Islands) 3. Asio otus wilsonianus (E North America) 4. Asio otus tuftsi (W North America)

Audio recordings


Recorded at Mława (near Mlawa), Mława County, Masovian Voivodeship in Poland.

© Piotr Szczypinski


nocturnal (active at night)

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