Great Horned Owl

A Great Horned Owl named Winston poses just before he was released back into his habitat at the Orange County Zoo after the Silverado Fire in 2020. MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty Images

Bird Spotting: The great horned is a large owl and varies in color according to its place of residence. In the Arctic great horns can be nearly all white, while in the southern United States a mottled brown color is typical. Wildly spaced ear tufts shaped like horns give this owl its name.

Habitat: The adaptable great horned owl makes its home in forests, deserts, open country, swamps and even city parks.


Nesting: These owls nest in tree holes, sometimes taking up residence in the abandoned nests of herons, hawks or crows. They are monogamous and lay two to five eggs per season, with two being typical.

Bird Bite: The great horned owl can swallow its prey whole, regurgitating fur, bones and other indigestible body parts at a later time.